SA’s economic recovery depends on a sustainable, affordable and reliable supply of energy. The announcement by the National Energy Regulator of SA (Nersa) that it concurs with the ministerial determination for procurement of additional power infrastructure should therefore be greeted with excitement (“New energy from independent power producers one step closer”, September 10).
The move to more energy capacity is much needed given our current energy crisis. Our abnormal circumstances require an urgent response, which is why there is a need for the government to harness renewables now to counter the threat to SA’s energy security.
The private sector stands ready to act with speed to meet the rise in demand with a secure, sustainable energy supply. Stakeholders from across the sector need only to be given the green light on bid window five of the renewable energy independent power producers procurement programme, and they will invest and drive the infrastructure development we need.
The Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) does not explicitly spell out the allocation for distributed generation projects over the next four years. Given the right conditions, distributed solar photovoltaic (PV) generation has the opportunity to play a far greater role in responding to the energy needs required to address the economic recovery post Covid-19.
Solar PV represents the least costly and fastest to commercial operation of all energy sources. Utility-scale solar PV projects (75MW-plus) take between 18 and 24 months from signing the agreement to commercial operation date. This could even be achieved in 12 months given an enabling environment. On the other hand, small-scale embedded generation projects (below 10MW) take 12 months on average and could be reduced to six to eight months given an enabling environment.
Nivesh Govender, COO, SA Photovoltaic Industry Association
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