The National Energy Regulator of SA (Nersa) and Energy Minister Dipuo Peters are to be congratulated for climbing yet another rung on South Africa’s ladder to a sustainable energy future.
Sustainable Energy Society of Southern Africa (SESSA) Ombudsman, Carel Ballack said it had taken over 8 months but power licenceshave now been approved for the 28 successful renewable energy bidders announced in December last year by Minister Peters.
These 28 bidders in the first round of the Department ofEnergy’s programme to source some 3 725MW of energy from independent, renewable power producers by 2016 will utilise both solar and wind technologies to supply a total of 1415.52MW.
This will be broken down as follows:
· 18 solar photovoltaic projects - 631.53MW
· 8 onshore wind projects - 633.99MW
· 2 concentrated solar power project - 150MW
“The fact that the licences have now been awarded means that the successful bidders can put serious effort into meeting the deliverables,” said Ballack.
“However, SESSA would like to see a more speedy resolution of the process so that those bidders who were successful in the second round are also able to plan with certainty.”
The second bidding period attracted some 79 tenders and represented 3 233 MW of potential power generation capacity.
This is nearly three times the 1 275 MW allocated for the second round; a further 2 300 MW was left available for allocation under the programme at a future date. Only 19 out of the 79 projects presented were selected aspreferred bidders.
“The fact that the second round of bidding has attracted nearly three times as much capacity as called for indicates that the 2016 target may be set too low,” said Ballack.
“SESSA would like to see Government seriously considering increasing its target of 3 725 MW of renewables capacity.
“The interest is there, the skills and the capacity exists – Government should be looking to take advantage of that,” he said.
SESSA has, since 1974, been dedicated to the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency including all solar-based energies such as photovoltaics, thermal heating and cooling, wind, biomass and hydro power.
It is the duly appointed African office of ISES and has a position on its board. The current SESSA representative is mechanical and mechatronic engineering specialist, Professor Wikus van Niekerk of Stellenbosch University.
SESSA’s objectives include:
· Promoting and increasing the use of renewable and energy efficient technologies with informal education, demonstration and information dissemination to end-users and decision makers of all levels;
· Establishing the society as the main regional information centre in close co-operation with similar initiatives;
· Facilitating the creation and maintenance of appropriate standards for products, systems, methods and training;
· Supporting initiatives that promote the creation of local ‘green-collar’ jobs and highlight green enterprise opportunities;
· Lobbying government, big business, civil society and parastatal organisations towards adopting a low carbon energy future.