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South Africa picks renewable winners for Window 5

Solar panels from above
South Africa's REISA project

South Africa has announced the winners for the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) Bid Window 5.

Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe set out the 25 winning bids in a televised address on the evening of October 28.

Mainstream Renewable Power was a major winner, with 12 of its projects chosen, offering 1.27 GW of capacity.

As the minister acknowledged, it was “unfortunate” that the announcement came as Eskom was in a state of widespread loadshedding. It announced Stage 4 loadshedding this week, blaming a shortage of generation capacity.

Units at major power plants Medupi, Kusile and Matla had each tripped, while further units had stopped working at Lethabo and Arnot. Total breakdowns accounted for 14,957 MW of capacity, while maintenance claimed another 5,301 MW.

Mantashe said the immediate solution to the power crisis was to “getting the existing plants to perform predictably”.

Mainstream said it was now the most successful company that had taken part in South Africa’s renewable energy award process. It has won a total of 2.1 GW over the years.

“We are very pleased to have secured such a significant win, underpinning our strategy of building true scale across our global platforms and helping deliver a just transition towards South Africa’s clean energy and climate goals,” said Mainstream CEO Mary Quaney.

Bids in

Bid Window 5 had aimed to sign up 2,600 MW of power, including 1,600 MW of wind and 1,000 MW of solar. It attracted 102 bids, offering capacity of 9,644 MW. The amount from the 25 chosen bids was 2,583 MW.

The weighted average price of the bids was 473 rand per MWh. Wind came in at 495 rand per MWh, while solar was 429 rand per MWh.

Mantashe also noted that the bids included work in states not previously included in renewables projects. Backers are planning seven projects for Free State and one in KwaZulu-Natal.

Work on the 25 projects will require around 50 billion rand of private investment and will create around 13,900 jobs.

The minister called for plans to reach financial close within six months.

Bid Window 6 is due to be announced no later than January 2022. This will aim for a similar generation mix as the offering recently concluded.

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