Internal Eskom approvals in hand for first renewable projects

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State-owned power utility Eskom has concluded its internal governance processes for the connection of, as well as the purchase of power from, the renewable-energy projects that advanced to the preferred-bidder stage under South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Programme (REIPPP).

Single buyer office representative Adele Greyling reported on Friday that corporate authorisations had been secured to sign power purchase and connection agreements with the first-window bidders, which were named by Energy Minister Dipuo Peters in December.

She told delegates to the Sustainability Week conference and exhibition that the utility would conclude the agreements once it had received Public Finance Management Act and National Energy Regulator of South Africa approvals.

The 28 renewable-energy projects were identified as preferred bidders during the first REIPPP bid window and an initial deadline of June 19 was set for financial closure.

However, the Department of Energy (DoE) has informed bidders that it is not yet in a position to confirm when the department and Eskom will conclude the implementation agreements, the power purchase agreements and the direct agreements.

Earlier, Peters indicated that the closure deadline had been shifted to the end of July.

The first-window independent power producers (IPPs) collectively represent about 1 415 MW of potential capacity, while through the REIPPP, the DoE aimed to procure 3 725 MW to be introduced into South Africa’s power generation mix between 2014 and 2016.

Eskom had no role in the allocation of renewables technologies, but, as the buyer, will sign the power purchase agreement as well as grid connection and distribution agreements.

It had also established a grid access unit to facilitate the connections process.

“We as Eskom are committed to facilitate the entry of IPPs . . . and we will continue to pursue [conventional and renewable] IPP opportunities,” Greyling insisted, adding that the utility was also in the final stages of concluding agreements to facilitate the entry of a new 1 000 MW peaking power project.


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