The country’s regulator has approved a government plan to tender for 11.81 GW of power generation capacity on top of the 2 GW tender opened last month.
Cell supply shortages could kick-start manufacturing activity in India, EV car sales are braced for a fall while still gaining market share and a new date has been set for the world’s biggest solar trade show.
The country’s top appeals court has dismissed the Coal Transporters Forum’s long-running effort to nullify 2.3 GW of power purchase agreements which financially troubled utility Eskom signed with solar and wind developers in the country’s fourth national tender round years ago.
The nation has been plagued by extensive power outages again with debt-riddled utility Eskom blaming heavy summer floods for taking out extensive parts of its coal-fired power generation fleet.
The South African utility has issued a 20-strong tender for 50 kW solar inverters and mounting structures, to be used in four power plants. Although it is unclear whether the tender marks the energy company’s first step into solar energy, the procurement follows the recent publication of South Africa’s Integrated Resource Plan. Eskom is reportedly developing a renewables-linked large scale storage project which may explain the need for inverters.
That would take the country to 8.28 GW of generation capacity by the end of the next decade with the government stating up to 6 GW of small scale capacity could be required on top. By that stage, however, coal would still amount to 43% of generation capacity and gas and diesel a combined 8.1%, under the new Integrated Resource Plan.
Power purchase agreements may be voluntarily renegotiated by extending the 20-year deals or enabling independent power producers to add more efficient PV components, thus increasing plant generation capacity.
A representative of South Africa’s energy regulator said deals signed between 2011 and 2013 must be subject to lower tariffs to ease the financial crisis at national utility Eskom. The suggestion failed to convince delegates at an Africa Energy Forum panel discussion in Lisbon, however.
As national utility Eskom faces a financial and operational crisis, rumors are spreading that the government may ask independent power producers to renegotiate the tariffs of PPAs awarded in the first two rounds of its renewable energy program. South African solar association SAPVIA has already given short shrift to the idea.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced a plan to rescue state-owned power company Eskom by separating it into three units. According to consultants Frost & Sullivan, although that may not be enough to completely address the utility’s financial crisis it may further encourage investment in renewables.
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