South Africa powers ahead with 13 new renewable schemes

Plagued by power outages, South Africa is moving ahead with 13 new renewable energy projects that will add more than a gigawatt to its generating capacity.

Wind, solar, hydro and biomass schemes will be commissioned by 2016 in the latest tranche of approvals under South Africa’s ambitious Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer (IPP) programme.

Energy minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson said on Thursday 16 April that letters of confirmation had been sent to preferred bidders on the schemes.

On Saturday 18 April South African power utility Eskom imposed rolling electricity cuts for the seventh straight day, cutting 2,000 MW off its strained grid.

Africa’s most advanced economy is struggling to meet demands for electricity and a major project to complete its newest coal-fired plant, the Medupi Power Station, has been hit by strikes.

The government hopes that independent renewable schemes will be quicker off the mark and help relieve chronic shortages.

South Africa’s sunshine and windy coastlines have proved attractive to renewable energy investors. Including the latest 13 projects, a total of 79 renewable schemes with a capacity of 5,243 MW have been approved for construction under the IPP programme, with a total construction value of approximately $14.05bn, the minister said.

More details can be found here.

Photograph: The Wild Coast, South Africa’s Eastern Cape. Sunshine and windy coastlines have lured investors to South Africa’s renewable programme (

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