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Following Energy Minister Jeff Radebe’s signing of 27 Independent Power Producer (IPP) projects, a number of organisations have publically lauded what the Minister referred to as a “new dawn” for renewable energy in South Africa. While the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa and Transform RSA tried to interdict the projects through court action in order to stop job losses, political and economic bodies across the country have thrown their support behind the projects.

Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Energy, Fikile Majola, welcomed the signing of the agreements, stating that the signing of the IPPs offers government’s commitment and certainty into the programme. “The signing of the agreements with independent power producers is part of the country’s energy mix, which includes renewable energy, as stated in the energy policy by government. The National Development Plan (NDP) proposes diversity and alternative energy resources and energy supply options. The signing of the IPPs provide such diversity, as indicated by the NDP,” he said in a statement.

SA welcomes signing of IPP projects

Renewable energy company Sola also commended the signing. “The signing signifies government’s commitment to economic growth and prosperity in South Africa. The signing has been a long time coming and is a monumental moment for the renewable energy industry in South Africa,” Sola chairperson Dr Chris Haw said.

Minister Radebe has committed to providing investors with better “line of sight” of what South Africa planns to procure in future. Speaking at the signing ceremony, he acknowledged that no investment decisions could be made on a “stop-start basis”, adding that details would be provided in a new Integrated Resource Plan, which would be released “very soon”.

The 27 new projects are expected to create 58 000 new jobs, mostly during construction. There is potential to create a further 1 500 jobs in the manufacturing sector as a direct spin-off from the projects, according to the Minister.

Twenty-four of the projects are either solar photovoltaic (PV) or onshore wind development. The other projects include the Redstone Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) project in the Northern Cape, the Kruisvallei mini-hydro project in the Free State, and the Ngodwana Energy biomass project in Mpumalanga.

The 12 solar PV projects are Aggeneys, Bokamoso, De Wildt, Droogfontein 2, Dyason’s Klip 1, Dyason’s Klip 2, Greefspan 2, Konkoonsies 2, Loriesfontein Orange, Sirius 1, Waterloo and Zeerust. The wind projects include Copperton, Excelsior, Garob Wind Farm, Garob Valley, Kangnas, Oyster Bay, Perdekraal East, Roggeveld, Karusa, Nxuba, Soetwater and Wesley-Ciskei.

Image credit: Copyright: ai825 / 123RF Stock Photo

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