This report, by Heinrich Böll Stiftung Southern Africa, says that in October the South African government announced a R150-billion, 5 000-MW solar park to be built in the Northern Cape. Analysts have questioned why this project did not appear in the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP 2010) currently under development, and according to which all new generation capacity must be specified in order to be licensed.
Is the new park just another “announced target”, meant as a sop to renewable energy proponents, or will it lead to action and real investments in renewable energy power supply? The announced cost for the solar park of R150-billion is far lower than both the official costs of solar used in the IRP and international norms, and since the announcement investors have made no firm statements of interest. The government has been announcing renewable energy targets for some time, but with little happening. What are the real prospects for renewable energy in South Africa, and are these about to be realised?