Electricity reform bears fruit with 1 185 generators now registered with Nersa

This SOLA Group project was the first utility-scale project to be registered after the licence-exemption cap was lifted

This SOLA Group project was the first utility-scale project to be registered after the licence-exemption cap was lifted

7th December 2023

By: Terence Creamer

Creamer Media Editor


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The National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) reports that it registered a further 98 generation facilities – with a combined capacity of 908 MW and an investment value of R17.3-billion – during the second quarter of its 2023/24 financial year.

These registrations, which took place from July to September, raise to 1 185 the total number of generation facilities registered since 2018.

However, the pace of registrations accelerated markedly after a 2021 reform was made to Schedule 2 of the Electricity Regulation Act, lifting the licence-exemption cap from 1 MW to 100 MW. That cap was subsequently removed entirely to accelerate investment as power disruptions intensified.

In August, the National Energy Crisis Committee reported that, since the implementation of the regulatory changes, the pipeline of private sector generation projects had increased to over 100 projects representing more than 10 000 MW of capacity.

Projects registered with Nersa to date, meanwhile, have a combined capacity of 5 785 MW and an investment value of R111-billion and exclude the thousands of smaller installations that have been implemented by households and businesses in response to loadshedding.

Eskom has estimated that some 4 400 MW of behind-the-meter generation was installed between July 2022 and July 2023, mostly in the form of rooftop solar.

Nersa reports that 92 of the registrations during the second quarter were for solar photovoltaic (PV) facilities, which make up 71% of the capacity registered. The balance comprises two solar PV projects with battery energy storage systems, two co-generators and two wind projects.

Regulator Member responsible for Electricity Regulation Nhlanhla Gumede commended the uptake in registrations, which he indicated had been processed by Nersa within an average of five working days. However, he recommended that future registration applications for generation facilities of variable energy sources be coupled with battery storage.

Sixty-eight of the generation facilities registered during the period are connected to the Eskom network and have a total capacity of 785 MW and an associated investment value of R14.8-billion. A total of 30 generation facilities are connected to the municipal distribution network, with a capacity of 27 MW and investment value of R2.5-billion.

The three provinces with the highest number of new registered generation facilities in the second quarter were Gauteng (19 projects for 11 MW), Western Cape (17 projects for 119 MW) and KwaZulu-Natal (15 projects for 7 MW). The top three provinces by capacity were the Free State (251 MW across 7 projects), North West (192 MW across 11 projects) and the Western Cape.

The 11 projects registered in the North West province during the period carried the highest investment value, at R5.8-billion. The average investment cost for the second quarter of the 2023/24 financial year is R19 000/kW, Nersa states.


Edited by Creamer Media Reporter



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