The state of the nation address was weak in terms of dealing with the current impasse between Eskom and the renewable energy independent power producers that has already been hugely detrimental to the economy, foreign investment and progressive energy planning.

The promise that finally "Eskom will sign the outstanding power purchase agreements for renewable energy in line with the procured rounds" is important, but the point is that a state-owned entity such as Eskom should never have been allowed to defy the government for as long as it has.

Furthermore, it was not indicated when these agreements will be signed, and that is critical. If the situation is not resolved within the next few weeks, DCD Wind Towers will be forced to close its doors, and 172 people will lose their jobs.

The R400m facility in Port Elizabeth was built because the Department of Energy’s procurement programme guaranteed
there would be demand for the wind towers going forward.

To ensure a growing renewable energy sector, we need Eskom to sign these agreements as soon as is practically possible. To delay any longer will make a mockery of any government commitments to energy transformation. Bear in mind that with the radical drop in renewable energy prices, wind and solar power are now the cheapest new build options for electricity generation.

To allow Eskom to continue standing in the way of progress is completely unacceptable.

Richard Halsey
Policy & research team, Project 90 by 2030

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