Independent power producers commit ZAR120 billion to national power grid

The renewable energy sector has committed investments totalling ZAR120 billion over three bid windows to add power to the national grid, the Department of Trade and Industry reported to Parliament on Tuesday.

A delegation led by Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies told the trade and industry committee that "green industries in the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme had in the years following its launch in 2011 to date awarded 4944 MW to 64 projects".

Director-general Lionel October said "over the three bid windows the renewable energy sector has committed investments totalling ZAR120 billion, of which ZAR39 billion was committed to local content", adding that the department had strengthened the local content requirement with every successive bidding round scaling up thresholds and targets.

He explained that a ZAR1.5 billion, 100 ha solar power plant facility, comprising 165 000 solar panels, was launched at Droogfontein near Kimberley in the Northern Cape and "the plant was constructed by emerging power company Globeleq in collaboration with other industry players and the Department of Environment Affairs. It is the first large solar farm in SA to be built as a direct response to the (programme)".

Business Day, 8 September 2015

Trade barriers block clean energy efforts

Trade barriers, such as local content requirements and anti-dumping measures, are raising the costs of renewable energy and making it harder for governments to meet their commitments to reduce carbon emissions, a trade expert said on Wednesday.

Local content requirements are a pillar of SA’s industrial policy, particularly in its renewable energy independent power producer programme. The government wants to grow local jobs and skills, as well as diversify the country’s energy mix away from fossil fuels to meet its climate change commitments.

Ricardo Melendez-Ortiz, CE of the Swiss-based International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development, told the Global Cleantech Conference on Wednesday that international agreements were critical in driving development of clean technologies.

Global carbon emissions were stable last year despite growth in the world economy, reflecting increased penetration of renewable energy technologies. However, renewable energy usage was still rising too slowly to achieve the International Energy Agency’s targets to keep the rise in global temperatures to below two degrees by the end of this century, Mr Melendez-Ortiz said.

Business Day, 10 September 2015