Ms Tina Joemat-Petterson was appointed as the new Minister of Energy in South Africa in May 2014 of this year, replacing Ben Martins, who himself only took up the position from Dipuo Peters following a Cabinet reshuffle in July last year. Prior to this election, the focus on renewable energy policies and reform had largely been put on hold. However, following the appointment of the new Minister, the renewables regime has gained new vigour.
In 2009 the South African government began exploring feed-in tariffs for renewable energy, but they were rejected in 2011 in favour of competitive tenders. The initial outcomes of the programme, now known as the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP), have been encouraging. Beginning with its first round of bids in August 2011, REIPPPP has reportedly attracted a multitude of international and local private project developers and investors who have channelled large amounts of private expertise and investment into grid-connected renewable energy in South Africa at competitive prices. In its second and third bid rounds, the programme has also reportedly fostered competition, leading to price reductions.
Financial close for projects selected under the third round has been postponed from 30 July to the end of November 2014. The submission date for bids in the fourth bidding window for the REIPPPP was 18 August 2014. The announcement of the preferred bidders will take place on 24th November 2014. The submission for the fifth bidding round has been set tentatively for May/June 2015.