WIND INDUSTRY LOOKS TO NEW ELECTRICITY MINISTER TO DRIVE THE ENERGY ACTION PLAN
Cape Town, 13 February 2023
The South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA), has issued a statement of support for President Ramaphosa’s leadership and firm commitment to fixing the country’s electricity crisis, as stated in his SONA last week (9 February 2023).
Most significantly, he announced the appointment of a new Minister of Electricity, dedicated to ending the lingering energy capacity gap, by safeguarding that the Energy Action Plan is Implemented, to ensure increased new power generation over the next five-year period.
“This is not the first time that our President has prioritized South Africa’s protracted energy shortfall in his SONA, resulting in significant reform that has helped to liberalise the energy sector. We once again hope that the changes proposed will accelerate the implementation of the Energy Action Plan and look to the new Minister to drive new generation capacity onto the grid with haste,” said Niveshen Govender, CEO of SAWEA.
The wind sector, which is currently facing serious challenges directly related to grid access, is invested in working with government as a key stakeholder to find solutions to the challenges, so that new electricity can be injected into the network as soon as possible.
“We look to the new Minister to work with the DMRE and DPE Ministers and assist in surmounting the hurdles related to the Risk Mitigation IPP Procurement Programme, and BW5 wind projects, and to ensure grid capacity for shovel ready wind projects that were left stranded post BW6,” added Govender.
Reflecting on the last bid round, when not a single wind project received preferred-bidder status, due to grid access, Govender says the industry will be looking to work with key government stakeholders and the new Minister to expedite procurement with an additional emergency public procurement round to capture projects in the advanced stages of development, assuming viable solutions to grid constraints have been investigated and implemented.
SAWEA sees the appointment of this dedicated electricity Minister, to be vital in the coordination, management and success of the Energy Action Plan and thereby bringing forward solutions to the crisis. However, the Association warns that actions should be measured and be in the best interest of South Africa and her people, in the face of the declared State of Disaster.
“We believe that Wind has a significant role to play, coupled with solar PV and storage, and that technically viable and affordable solutions can be achieved,” concluded Govender.