6 000 MW of wind power ‘ready to be commissioned’ in SA

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The South African Wind Energy Association (Sawea) on Thursday said
that information from wind energy project developers in South Africa
showed that 6 000 MW of wind energy was “ready to be commissioned
right now”.
Developers were, however, waiting for the power purchase agreements
(PPAs) under the renewable energy feed-in tariff (Refit), as they
could not take a project to a bankable stage unless they had a power
offtake agreement in place.
However, Standard Bank director of investment banking coverage for
South Africa and Africa, Paul Eardley-Taylor said that a number of
entities (such as industrial and mining companies) could be interested
in signing PPAs with renewable power producers, outside of the Refit
programme, if one considered increasing electricity price forecasts
for 2015.
As South Africa awaited the draft of the integrated resource plan
2010, or IRP2010, which was initially expected by the end of June,
interests promoting different forms of energy generation stated what
they hoped to see from the document.
Representing Sawea, Mark Tanton purported that the country should aim
to derive 25% of its total electricity generation mix from wind energy
by 2025. That would amount to about 30 000 MW of installed wind
capacity.
Tanton said that this figure would in turn mean the creation of an
additional 40 000 jobs, 12 000 of which would be permanent jobs in
rural areas.
He also noted that some 60% of the wind turbine could be manufactured
locally, and would thus contribute significantly to industrial
development.
Tanton emphasised that Sawea wanted the IRP2010 to be a “risk-
adjusted” plan, which looked at the “true cost” of producing power
from all the technologies proposed, and ensured a portfolio mix that
was complementary, affordable and sustainable in the long-term.
And importantly, clarity and limited ambiguity were expected from the
IRP2010.
Representing the Nuclear Industry Association of South Africa, Ayanda
Myoli stated that South Africa had the opportunity to be a “big
player” in the nuclear industry, and if a nuclear build programme of
20 000 MW was initiated, some 77 000 jobs could be created in the
country. Of these jobs, some 50 000 would be permanent jobs, not only
in operation and maintenance of nuclear power plants, but also in
downstream supplier industries.
The country’s nuclear policy was said to support the local
beneficiation of uranium, for example.
Myoli also said that localisation, and development of high-end skills
was high on the agenda.
Eskom representative Adele Greyling stressed that Eskom wanted the
IRP2010 to address the issue of security of supply, as well as for the
document to make provision for the entrance of independent power
producers (IPPs) into the market, and to also ensure a more diverse
energy mix.
She said that Eskom was ready, willing and able to facilitate the
process of IPPs entering the market in South Africa, but emphasised
that the process was not up to the utility alone.
Greyling added that Eskom felt that it would be practically possible
for renewable energy to contribute 20% to the entire energy generation
mix by 2030.
Independent industry commentator Chris Yelland said that it was of
utmost importance that the drafting of the IRP2010 should follow due
process.
Yelland was concerned that the IRP2010 was not being drawn up by
independent consultants, which were free of vested interests, and was
rather being driven by stakeholders – which were largely dominated by
Eskom and the Energy Intensive Users Group, as they had the finances
to be most involved with the process.
He highlighted that it would be difficult to accept the outcome if one
did not accept the process.
IRP2010, spearheaded by the Department of Energy, would determine
current and future energy requirements for South Africa for the next
20 years.
Energy Minister Dipuo Peters said previously that the country has
reached a “delicate situation, which requires us to take bold and
decisive decisions on whether to build coal-fired or nuclear power
stations for baseload energy requirements”.

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