Government working to connect IPPs to the grid
Government has procured and connected more 7 000MW of generating capacity onto the grid through its Renewable Independent Power Producer Programme (REIPPP).
This is according to Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe.
The Minister was speaking during the debate on the State of the Nation Address (SONA) held in Cape Town on Tuesday.
The government-driven REIPPP aims to bring much needed additional megawatts onto the grid through private sector investment in renewable energy such as wind, biomass and small hydro.
Mantashe said that since the programme’s launch in 2011, the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) has procured some 13 266MW from 140 Independent Power Producers (IPPs) whose technologies are based on renewable energy, diesel and battery energy storage.
“From these capacities, 7 362MW was from 95 IPPs, who are currently connected to the grid and supplying the much needed electricity. A combination of [renewables and base load] is required to deal with the challenges facing us. The remaining 45 IPPs, with a combined capacity of 5 904MW, are either in construction or preparing to reach commercial close.
“NERSA [National Energy Regulator of South Africa] has concurred with the Minister of Electricity [Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa] that 2500MW of nuclear capacity has to be connected,” he said.
Under the current administration, some 5 939MW has been procured from 46 IPPs, with some 150MW already connected to the grid and a further 1 587MW expected to supply electricity from September this year.
The Minister said South Africa has the potential to lead the way in the global energy transition.
“We firmly believe that South Africa holds significant quantities of minerals needed for the transition from high carbon emissions to low carbon emissions, which informs the view that our mining industry is a sunrise industry,” he said.
Delving deeper into mining, Mantashe said over the past 30 years of democracy, government has done much work in transforming the industry.
“When we did research two years ago… we discovered that at the nine major mining companies that we studied, each one of them didn’t have less than 50% of the management structure being black. We did see that in procurement initiatives created, a lot of business people who are not necessarily seen as part of the mining sector but who have developed on the back of mining.
“If you talk coal, only one major company is white, the majority of them are black. In the manganese sector… black ownership in mining companies is a long list. In gold…ARM is dominant, Harmony is dominant. In the PGMs [platinum group metals] …[there is] black ownership. If you look at all these companies, you can see that there is practical progress being made,” Mantashe said.
He said for the sector to continue growing, exploration is needed.
“Cognisant of the fact that mines are born out of exploration, we have just launched an exploration fund. It is important that we invest in exploration so that the future of this very important sector continues to be bright,” Mantashe said. – SAnews.gov.za
Tue, 02/13/2024 – 12:01