Renewable Energy: An opportunity in a time of crisis

Renewable energy

South Africa’s total domestic electricity generation capacity is 51,309 MW from all sources. Approximately 91.2%, or 46 776 MW, comes from thermal coal power stations, while 4 533 MW is generated from renewable energy sources. Eskom, the state-owned utility, dominates the power sector. South Africa experienced scheduled power cuts for short periods in 2018 and 2019, and these have resumed in 2020. The country exports electricity to its neighbours through the Southern African Power Pool.

Of the total population 84.2% have access to electricity, with the same access rate for both urban and rural areas. There are 8.9 million people who do not have access to electricity.

Relevant energy policy for renewable energy

The country’s electricity plan, the Integrated Resource Plan 2019 (IRP 2019), plans for a substantial reduction of the share of coal-fired electricity (72% of 52 GW in 2019 to 43% of 81 GW by 2030), but does include the commissioning of an additional 1.5 GW of coal (not including the capacity still to come online at coal-fired power plants, Medupi and Kusile). The renewable technologies with the largest planned growth are wind (14.4 GW to be added by 2030) and solar PV (6 GW). The Integrated National Electrification Plan includes initiatives to boost electricity access in rural areas and aims to fund an estimated 723,000 grid and 49,650 non-grid connections to households by 2019/20.

Renewable energy investment is promoted under the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Program (REIPPPP), the focus of which has been on-grid IPPs. South Africa’s renewables auction programme which had stalled with Eskom’s refusal to sign power purchase agreements for nearly three years, was reactivated in April 2018 when the new Energy Minister Jeff Radebe signed the power purchase agreements for the 27 outstanding renewable energy projects from Rounds 3.5-4.The full article is for subscribed members only. To view the full article please subscribe. It’s FREE!Log In Register


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