The National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) is positive about the renewable-energy feed-in tariff (Refit) system. Nersa spokesperson Charles Hlebela explains that a Refit system is a per-kilowatt-hour payment for the elec- tricity produced by a renewable source, such as wind or sun.
The process that the Refit system will adopt in South Africa is to operate transparently, with inputs from industry players, he says. This is to ensure that high tariffs are in place, but not to discourage development and create excessive profits.
The Refit system relies on renewable energy and, by using it, consumers will ensure that the electricity they consume does not contribute to carbon emissions.
Renewable-energy producers will have a 20- to 25-year contract in place with the electricity buyer, adds Hlebela. He says this is a security measure to ensure that, even though some of the renewable-energy technology is not always available during the day, for example, in conditions where there is no wind or sunlight, people using renewable-energy will not be without power.
Government aims to achieve a renewable- energy target of 10 000 GWh by 2013. The target was determined by the policymakers, with the energy regulator setting guidelines and rules on tariffs for different renewable-energy technologies.
Hlebela says that a challenge facing the Refit system in South Africa relates to the policy framework for renewable energy, which has not yet been completed for implementation. “In South Africa, concentrating solar power is still new and we do not have demonstration power plants,” he concludes