The Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) launched its Integrated Renewable Energy and Resource Efficiency Programme (iREREP) by opening its request for information (RFI) on September 20, saying its 30-year lead time is aligned with government’s National Infrastructure Plan 2050 and will be rolled across various DPWI-managed buildings up to 2050.
The iREREP’s RFI is intended to test the market for additional ideas and information which comprehensively looks at ways to deliver mutual value through strong partnerships across government and the private sector, Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia de Lille said.
Also known as the Photovoltaic (PV) and Water Savings on Government Buildings Programme, this project was gazetted as a Strategic Integrated Project in July 2020, as part of a credible pipeline of projects in the Infrastructure Investment Plan which was approved by Cabinet in May 2020.
Recent studies into the DPWI’s property portfolio place yearly electricity and water consumption at an estimated 4 021 GWh and 39-billion litres, respectively, equating to an average yearly expenditure on electricity of R2.4-billion, and R1.8-billion for water.
In addition, DPWI properties generate about 822-million tonnes of waste a year.
Over the 30 years of its implementation, the DPWI says the project will result in savings and revenue worth over R401-billion, which can be “reallocated to other government priorities”, and make a direct contribution to South Africa’s gross domestic product of R253-billion.
As a result of implementing the iREREP, the department says 3 800 new small businesses will be developed, 146 000 jobs created and more than 117 000 people taught new skills.
The iREREP is also envisaged to reduce the DPWI’s energy use intensity by between 22% and 45%, while reducing water consumption by between 30% and 55%.
A reduction in waste and the diversion of 50% of currently-generated waste from landfill sites is expected to save 12-million tonnes from reaching landfills, while the programme is also expectd to reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions from DPWI buildings by over 54.5-million tonnes.
“Through this RFI process, the [DPWI] will be able to gain additional market insights that will drive the implementation of the programme, as well as provide an understanding of the appetite and readiness of the market to participate in this programme,” De Lille said.
She added that the opportunity presented through the iREREP would also enable the DPWI to obtain a high-level understanding of enhanced technical solutions that are available in the market in relation to the iREREP and the capacity of the private sector to deliver on such solutions.
She also noted the RFI for the iREREP was aimed at enabling the DPWI to understand the financing needs of parties who would be interested in participating, and is also intended to support the department in the design of a future request for proposal (RFP), expected to be launched in January 2022.
Thus far, the iREREP has received National Treasury approval for Phase 1 and has been registered to be implemented in collaboration with the private sector on a full design, finance, build, operate, transfer basis.
In this regard, De Lille said, the private sector would be fully responsible for both the technical and financing aspects of implementing the programme.
Having the private sector involved in this way, “seeks to fully leverage public and private sector partnership, spurring on South Africa’s thriving private sector infrastructure investment sector, supported by an efficient and reliable public sector procurement framework that delivers world class procurement on budget,” the Minister said.
The RFI will be open for 30 days, after which an RFI evaluation is expected to be concluded by November 15.
Thereafter, obtained information will be fed into the DPWI’s RFP documents – the drafting of which De Lille said had already started.
“We . . . encourage all private sector participants across renewable energy, energy efficiency, water efficiency and alternative waste management, and through their various roles, including prospective bidders, prospective sponsors, lenders, local manufacturers, prospective suppliers, prospective advisers and other interested parties as we further cement partnerships between government and the private sector,” she commented.