SAWEA calls for IPPs to submit proposals for renewable energy procurement

The South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) has welcomed bidders to submit proposals for Bid Window 5 of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme(REIPPPP). The association seeks to purchase up to 2,600 megawatts of clean energy from Independent Power Producers (IPPs). Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) announced on March 18, 2021, and revealed the window is open until August 4, 2021.

“The announcement by the minister to open Bid Window 5, calling for proposals from IPPs, marks the rebirth of the wind energy industry, as the last bidding round took place almost seven years ago in 2014,” commented SAWEA’s head, Ntombifuthi Ntuli. DMRE Minister Gwede Mantashe addressed this issue in Johannesburg, saying the auction aims to procure 1.6 gigawatts(GW) of wind energy and is in accordance with the 2019 Integrated Resource Plan(IRP2019). The plan provides for uncapped procurement of “small-scale technologies to produce electricity close to the end-users of power.”

The South African government aims to install about 14.4 GW of new wind power in the next ten years, and its policies have been very supportive to SAWEA for the last two years. The wind industry embraces these changes, which will enable the government to procure new energy projects continuously.

“With supporting policy and smooth procurement rounds, expected to include the announcement of Bid Window 6 during the course of 2021 as reiterated by the Minister today, the renewable power sector certainly has a key role to play in rebuilding the country as a significant catalyst of economic growth, and investors have a big role to play in making that a reality,” said Ntuli.

The minister outlined the preferred bidders for the Risk Mitigation Independent Power Procurement Programme (RMIPPPP), and two of them are to be IPPs capable of delivering a hybrid project. A hybrid project consists of wind and solar plants alongside energy storage technology on a utility-scale.

Hybrid projects deliver reliable and sustainable power and may not need grid expansion. According to SAWEA, these kinds of projects are advantageous since they produce power at different times that complement each other. For instance, the solar plant will generate energy during the day, while the wind plant generates power at night. The excess energy is stored for later use when any of the plants are not consistently producing electricity.

“An advantage of renewable energy hybrid systems lies in their ability to combine two of the fastest growing renewable energy technologies. Hybrid systems can also take advantage of the complementary nature of solar PV, which produces power during the day, and wind, which produces most of its power at night,” added Ntuli.