Energize Abnormal circumstances require urgent response – reaction to Mineral...
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Abnormal circumstances require urgent response – reaction to Mineral Resources budget vote

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Information from SAPVIA  –  

The South African Photovoltaic Industry Association (SAPVIA) applauds the determination put forward by Gwede Mantashe, the minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, to mobilise the private sector to address the threats to energy security but cautions that there is no more time to waste.

Niveshen Govender

Responding to the minister’s budget vote speech, the association said that the private sector stands ready and able to act quickly to meet the rise in demand with a secure, sustainable supply of energy. SAPVIA is a not-for-profit body whose members are active players in South Africa’s photovoltaic (PV) market.

“Stakeholders from across the renewables sector, and specifically solar PV, need only to be given the green light on bid window 5 of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme (REIPPPP), and they will invest and drive the infrastructure development we so desperately need,” said Niveshen Govender, SAPVIA’s chief operations officer.

“Solar PV represents the least costly and fastest to commercial operation of all energy sources and will address the minister’s concerns that there is ‘insufficient time to bring in grid scale generation options due to long lead times.’”

A 70 MW utility-scale solar PV project would take between 18 and 24 months from signing the power-purchase agreement (PPA) to commercial operation date (COD). This could even be shortened in an enabling environment. Equally, a 10 MW small-scale embedded generation (SSEG) project would take 12 months on average and could be reduced to 6 to 8 months in an enabling environment.

“The urgency with which the minister is treating the situation is welcomed, but this needs to be measured in actions rather than words,” added Govender.

“SAPVIA welcomes the proposed amendments to New Generation Capacity Regulations and urges that the clarification for requirements from municipalities when they apply for Section 34 Determinations from the Department come sooner rather than later.”

“As a priority the minister must increase the current exemption from licencing from 1 MW to 10 MW for energy generation installations. We believe this was an arbitrary limit set as a policy decision and has no technical basis. By raising it, private sector operators will be able to step into the gap and deliver much-needed supply quickly and with minimal upgrades to a large number of substations, or nodes on the distribution network.”

SAPVIA was at the forefront of calling for the independent power producers (IPP) projects signed under bid window 4 to resume construction and is pleased to have worked closely with government to ensure that these projects can continue towards commercial operation.

“There really is no time to waste if we are to address the threats to energy security and while SAPVIA understands the minister’s calls for a coordinated and integrated approach to energy planning and coherent policy making, the association firmly believes that the IRP2019 has already laid the foundations.”

“There is no need to go back to the drawing board”, says Govender, “we must simply allow players in the renewables sector to implement new generation capacity and get bid window 5 of the REIPPPP underway,”.

Contact Kim Thomas, Tel 021 200-5856, kim@sapvia.co.za



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