In light of the fact that the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe, has deviated from the cabinet approved Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), South Africa’s roadmap for electricity generation, the Democratic Alliance (DA) has written to the Minister to request the immediate timeline for restarting the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme (REIPPP) bid windows. He must also do good on his commitment to an annual process to procure more generation from independent power producers (IPPs).
Minister Mantashe has decided to include the procurement of 2 500 MW of nuclear power by 2024 in his Ministerial Performance Agreement. This despite the IRP containing no such provision and his neglect to implement the procurement of renewable energy through IPPs – a key area of the IRP that both he and President Cyril Ramaphosa has repeatedly and unambiguously committed to.
In order to meet the IRP undertaking of 14 400 MW of new wind generation and 6 000 MW of new solar generation by 2030, the IPP Office would need to approve approximately 2 600 MW of new IPPs annually, each year going forward. This will be a difficult undertaking, as the REIPPP has not opened a bid window since 2016. It is unconscionable that this programme, once considered a world leader, should now be allowed to crumble into complete disarray.
With an economy in meltdown and further load shedding announced, it is more apparent than ever that Eskom cannot be relied on to secure South Africa’s electricity supply.
This delay is inexcusable. Load-shedding affects all walks of life and is widely considered the single biggest inhibitor of economic growth in South Africa, and in a time of pandemic, even impacts on the ability of hospitals to keep ventilators running.
South Africa cannot afford to delay the REIPPP further while lives and livelihoods are destroyed.