Tomorrow’s signing of 27 renewable energy independent power producer projects (REIPPP) by government is an acknowledgement of the importance and the future of the renewable energy sector.
Energy Minister Jeff Radebe will on Tuesday sign the contracts which are expected to release R56bn of investment into the sector over the next two to three years.
“The signing will put an end to a two-year period of great uncertainty for the South African renewable energy industry. This is good news for several reasons,” says Dr Dom Wills, CEO of solar project developer, SOLA Future Energy.
“The delay in signing these agreements has resulted in many job losses in industries that were set up to support the program. It is expected that over the next 3 years, at least 61 000 jobs - or 6% of government’s targeted 1 million jobs - will be created in renewables as a result of moving this program forward,” says Wills.
The signing, he says, is government’s recognition that wind and solar are the cheapest forms of electricity, and implementing these on a national scale will help to reverse Eskom’s drastic upward cost trend and drive power prices down. “The cost of electricity has a direct effect on the cost of our commercial and industrial products; low cost energy means lower cost of production and greater competitiveness internationally.”
Government’s strong signal to the renewables industry will also help South Africa to recover to its former position as a leader in renewables and independent power production.
“The renewables program enables South African individuals and companies to invest in electricity generation assets which have 20 year revenue streams. This will allow a greater participation in the South African economy and strong competition to ensure best possible value for the consumer.”