Opening of REIPPPP BW 7 further delayed as South Africa’s electricity minister to re-visit Eskom power stations

  • In his weekly EnergyAction Plan update yesterday, South Africa’s Minister in the Presidency responsible for Electricity, Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, said that the opening of Bid Window 7 in the country’s renewable energy independent power producer procurement programme (REIPPPP) , will be further delayed until December.
  • He attributed the delay to the delay in updating the draft Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) which is years overdue.
  • Ramokgopa is expected to embark on a series of follow-up visits to Eskom power stations over the next two weeks. 

The formulation of the country’s IRP plus new generation energy procurement falls under the responsibility of the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, headed up by Minister Gwede Mantashe.

On 16 May this year, Mantashe told Parliament that government will open a bid in July to procure additional renewable energy. Mantashe, who was delivering his Budget Vote speech for the 2023/24 financial year, said Bid Windows 7 and 8 will each give 5 000MW of renewable energy. Read more 

July has come and gone without a bid window announcement. There has been no announcement or update from IPP office or the DMRE on when REIPPPP Bid Window 7 will open and one wonders if the Ramokgopa has any authority to announce that that the BW 7 will open in December 2023. 

Since his appointment is 2019, Mantashe has introduced three large procurement programmes aimed at adding in excess of 8000MW of new generation capacity to the countrys’ grid but only 150MW (hybrid) has flowed into the grid from these programmes to date. Read more  

South Africa is in a massive energy crisis and is in desperate need of new generation capacity. South Africans face up to 16 hours of blackouts daily this winter. Read more

South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) was once globally respected at the best model in the world for emerging market countries. Credibility has however deteriorated swiftly under the leadership of Mantashe.  

Only 56 bids were received for the country’s REIPPP Bid Window 6. This marks a dramatic decline in bids by around half compared to Bid Window 5 which was massively oversubscribed, attracting a total of 102 bids. Only five Preferred Bidders with projects totalling 860MW were appointed under the 6th Bid Window of the REIPPPP.

No wind projects awarded in REIPPPP Bid Window 6.  The Department received Onshore Wind bid responses amounting to 4116 MW for the Bid Window 6, all of which are located in the Eastern Cape and Western Cape supply areas. Following the confirmation from Eskom during the evaluation that no grid capacity was available to connect any proposed Onshore Wind projects in these supply areas, the Department could unfortunately not award any of the wind projects up to the allocated 3200 MW under the bid window.

Since then, Mantashe appears to be adding preferred bidders piecemeal without any public announcements. Read more

IRP unlikely to be finalised this year

In August, Mantashe communicated that he will be presenting the draft Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) at a Cabinet meeting next month (September). He was speaking on the sidelines at the Critical Minerals Summit held in Sandton.

With the 2019 IRP considered ‘outdated’ at the time of its release, the country is in desperate need of a new IRP.

Once passed Cabinet the draft IRP it will then go to the executive for approval. Thereafter it will go through a public consultation process. Mantashe said that the IRP ‘should’ be finalised this year but judging from the controversial delays and hot contestation expected in passing the Electricity Regulation Act Amendment Bill, which like the IRP is central to the joint efforts of business and government to solve the electricity crisis, the IRP may not be adopted before next year’s election. If the IRP is not passed before the national elections, the process will then have to start from scratch.

The IRP outlines the new energy generation mix of technologies and associated capacities to be rolled out typically on a 10-year horizon. Mantashe reveals that the new IRP document would be broken into two phases. The first phase will specify generation technology and capacity allocation leading up to 2030 and the second phase covering the period beyond 2030.

Under the leadership of Mantashe, coal, gas and nuclear technology is expected to play a continued role in the country’s generation technology mix.

Eskom power station visits

The follow-up visits will begin at Arnot and Hendrina power stations in Mpumalanga on Monday. “The visits are a follow-up to the initial round of visits that Minister Ramokgopa undertook upon his appointment as the Minister of Electricity in March 2023. During the visits, the Minister sought to acquire more insights into the challenges facing the power stations. [This is] in order to advance the necessary interventions required to fix Eskom in line with the objectives of the Energy Action Plan to improve the reliability of electricity supply and end load shedding,” the Ministry in the Presidency for Electricity said in a statement.

On Wednesday, 8 November, the Minister will visit Kriel and Matla power stations, which are also in Mpumalanga. On Thursday, he will visit Camdem power plant. Ramokgopa is expected to visit Lethabo plant in Gauteng on Monday, 13 November. He will visit the Ankerling and Koeberg plants in the Western Cape on Tuesday, 14 November.

Author: Bryan Groenendaal

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