South Africa unveils bids for sixth renewables procurement round


South Africa's Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme Office has published a list of the 56 bids it has received for the sixth round of the nation's Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Program (REIPPPP).

About 4.1 GW of wind, spanning 23 projects, and 5.5 GW of solar at 33 sites will be allowed to participate. The wind farms range in size from 80 MW to 140 MW and the planned solar parks range from 75 MW to 240 MW. The proposed solar projects are located in Northern Cape, Western Cape, North West, Free State, and Limpopo provinces.

In September, the South African government raised its total capacity allocation from 3.6 GW to 4.2 GW. However, the quota for solar remained unchanged at 1 GW, while the wind quota has been raised from 2.6 GW to 3.2 GW.

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“It’s encouraging to see continued interest in South Africa’s REIPPPP from IPPs in addition to the growth in the private market now that license requirements for large projects have been removed,” Blue Horizon Energy Consulting Services’ Chris Ahlfeldt tells pv magazine. “It’s surprising to see only 1 GW of the 4.2 GW allocation coming from solar PV in Round 6, considering it provides some of the least expensive electricity and Eskom continues regularly loadshedding during the daytime hours. South Africa needs steady annual demand of about 3 GW per year to justify significant new investment in local solar PV manufacturing, so local manufacturers will have to look to also supply to non-utility scale market segments to justify manufacturing in the country.”

The nation's latest procurement exercise is part of a plan to tender almost 12 GW of capacity and follows the recent publication of South Africa’s new Integrated Resource Plan (IRP). The IRP aims for up to 6 GW of new large-scale solar by 2030, as well as up to 6 GW of distributed-generation PV capacity.

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