Wind industry hopeful after President prioritises energy sector | Infrastructure news

SAWEA remains hopeful with President Cyril Ramaphosa’s reassurance to prioritize the energy sector through a balanced energy mix that comprises of wind energy at the 5th South Africa Investment Conference.

With the 5th South Africa Investment Conference having taken place on the 13th of April 2023, the South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) is encouraged by President Cyril Ramaphosa’s commitment and reinforcement that the energy sector remains government’s foremost priority.

In response to the Investment conference opening address, SAWEA CEO, Niveshen Govender said, “Government clearly understands the urgency of the challenges facing the energy sector and it is great to hear the President acknowledge and reconfirm the role of wind energy, among other renewable energy technologies, in the future energy mix to ensure energy security in line with our plan and commitment to transition to a low carbon economy.” 

SAWEA continues to support the 5-point energy action plan as moves in the right direction and would like to extend its support to the Minister in the Presidency for Electricity, with the support of the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, the Department of Public Enterprises and the National Energy Crisis Committee, in their quest to oversee the implementation of the Energy Action Plan.

Govender adds, “the progress reports of the energy action plan, as presented at the conference, as a good indicator of Governments goal of transparency and urges Government to continue engaging with industry so that we can work together to deliver a successful outcome. It is important for the NECCOM to really understand the problems and work with industry to develop appropriate solutions. Minister Ramokgopa’s coordination role will effectively determine the success of the implementation.” 

The wind energy sector was dealt a heavy blow in the last public procurement round, where new generation capacity bid by the wind sector in BW6 of the REI4P was set aside due to insufficient grid access/capacity.

SAWEA has expressed its distress noting the expected detrimental effect on investor confidence in the REIPPP programme, overall. SAWEA certainly hopes that the recently released request for proposals for over 500 MW of battery storage will indeed soon open further bid windows for wind and solar, battery storage and gas power.

SAWEA noted the section 34 determination by Minister Mantashe last week in line with the IRP2019 ensuring the integrated resource plan is implemented in its full effect.

While the independent Eskom transmission company was mentioned at the investment conference, SAWEA continues to advocate for prioritized and fast-tracked investment into grid infrastructure to allow new generation projects to connect to the grid.

Govender proclaimed an additional 9600MW of wind energy procurement from REIPPPP would have been celebrated more if the implementation was consistent and continuous.

Both local and international investors have a keen interest in the South African renewable energy market, particularly utility-scale wind given its track record and potentially significant economic impact through the broadening of green jobs and local manufacturing.

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