Renewables sector welcomes Presidency’s support of renewables

10th February 2017 By: Anine Kilian - Contributing Editor Online

The South African Renewable Energy Council (Sarec) has welcomed the Presidency’s clear support for the country’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP).

During his State of the Nation address on Thursday night, President Jacob Zuma announced that State-owned Eskom would sign the outstanding power purchase agreements (PPAs) for renewable-energy projects that had been procured during the most recent rounds of the REIPPPP.

“Some of the economic impacts of the recent pause in South Africa’s REIPPPP, such as factory closures and job losses, have caused serious hardship for this fledgling industry. We trust that there will now be rapid movement to resolve the impasse in line with the President’s directive,” said Sarec chairperson Brenda Martin.

Renewable-energy independent power producers (IPPs) have, through the first highly successful rounds of the REIPPPP demonstrated their commitment to invest in producing power at increasingly lower prices, and to build stronger communities where their plants are located, she noted.

“More than R57-billion of investment will flow in the short term and jobs will be created once outstanding power purchase agreements are signed.”

Up to 15 000 jobs associated with the power procured in 2015 are currently not being realised, Martin stated.
The South African Photovoltaic Industry Association (Sapvia), which represents more than 170 players in the renewable-energy sector, meanwhile, said it was reassuring to know that government remained committed to working with the private sector to attract investment and drive much-needed job creation in the renewable-energy sector.

“This industry has a strong record when it comes to delivering on government’s key objectives of economic growth and social development and we look forward to building on the successes we have already had in rounds one, two and three of the REIPPPP,” said Sapvia chairperson David Chown.
Sapvia has been working with partner associations in the Sarec to build long-term partnerships with government and related stakeholders who benefit from the growth in renewable energy in South Africa.

“We know from the first three rounds of the REIPPPP that this collaboration between business and government provides a very successful foundation for sustainable and genuinely transformative enterprises and we can’t wait to kick on with the programme,” said Chown.
Local solar PV company Solar Capital said that it was relieved that the standoff between Eskom and IPPs was nearing an end.
Solar Capital chairperson Paschal Phelan noted that government’s backing of the REIPPPP will enable the continuation of the internationally renowned renewable-energy programme that aims to provide 17 800 MW of renewable-energy to South Africa by 2030. 
“This is an important reaffirmation that has been made in front of international investors and rating agencies.”
He added that more focus should be placed on getting momentum going and investment rolling in in the renewable-energy sector.

“More importantly, we must make South Africa a key global solar manufacturing hub. With enormous growth forecast for solar, we can create tens of thousands of sustainable green jobs for our country.”

IPP Pele Green Energy project development head Obakeng Moloabi said the Presidency’s support of the REIPPPP is testament to the continued development of the renewable-energy sector that has contributed positively and significantly to South Africa’s economy.

“We are further encouraged that government recognises that renewable energy continues to form an important part of the country’s energy mix, which will also include gas, nuclear, hydro and coal, and [that it] remains committed to its independent power producer programmes, which will be extended beyond renewables,” he said.