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Seventh renewables round delayed to December, Ramokgopa confirms

Electricity Minister Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa

Electricity Minister Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa

5th November 2023

By: Terence Creamer

Creamer Media Editor

     

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Electricity Minister Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa reports that the next public procurement round for renewable energy, known as Bid Window Seven (BW7), has been delayed until December.

Delivering a briefing on the implementation of the Energy Action Plan amid a resumption of loadshedding, Ramokgopa attributed the postponement directly to the delay in updating the draft Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), which he said was now at an “advanced stage” and should be published before the end of November.

Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe has promised previously that there will be public consultations on the document, which he has termed ‘IRP 2023’, but has not provided clarity yet on how the drafting process has been managed.

BW7 was initially expected to be released in September, subject to the publication of the Generation Connection Capacity Assessment (GCCA) by Eskom.

The GCCA was eventually released on October 31, but absent the results of curtailment studies undertaken to provide the option for developers to connect in grid “constrained areas”.

It has been reported that 10% curtailment could double the grid connection capacity of a province such as the Western Cape, which the GCCA shows as having no available capacity, along with the Northern Cape, the Eastern Cape and the Hydra Central supply area.

It states that there is 19.4 GW available in the rest of the country, where the wind and solar resources remain strong but less so than in the four areas described as having “depleted” capacity.

The lack of a clear curtailment option also meant that none of the 23 wind projects that bid for a 3.2 GW allocation during BW6 advanced to preferred-bidder status, despite persistent and intensifying loadshedding.

It is unclear whether the timing of BW7 could also be affected by a tender, issued by the Development Bank of Southern Africa, for a transaction adviser to review the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme and its evaluation model to improve its cost effectiveness and efficiency. The tender closed on November 2.

Meanwhile, Ramokgopa indicated that the 3 GW gas-to-power procurement programme, which was also meant to be released this year, was receiving priority attention within government and the National Energy Crisis Committee.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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