It’s no shock to anyone that South Africa needs to make a move away from coal. Soon. The masses are suffering for the mistakes of the country’s higher-ups. It isn’t fair. Plans are in place to make the jump to renewable energy sources – but it’ll be years before we see any sort of real improvement.
Sold, to the highest bidder!
French developer Engie SA has plans in the pipeline that’ll see three South African solar projects launch some time this week. Engie SA expects to sign three power-purchase agreements, totalling 225MW of energy that may go into the grid.
Engie SA’s projects are just three of 25 other renewable energy developments South Africa has picked to be built here. The other projects are all built by private developers, though the projects have suffered multiple delays over the past eighteen months.
“It’s always a challenge — the market has changed fundamentally to how it was 18 months ago,” said Mohamed Hoosen, Engie’s managing director for renewables in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.
Engie SA is one of the more favoured bidders to put their name into the hat when the country was choosing which companies could develop projects here.
South Africa will launch further bids to find more private developers and projects. Engie SA has said it would continue to develop more projects here. “To the extent that they bring these programs to market, we will be there to submit our bids,” Hoosen said.
Should South Africa manage to actually take the step away from coal in the next decade, it’ll leave plenty of Eskom’s employees out of a job. Engie SA has put forward the idea that the building of these projects, or at least parts of them, could happen right here.
“There is tremendous value in establishing a local base for manufacturing,” though there are some preliminary conditions, Hoosen said. “You need the certainty and reliability of the deployment of renewables” and you need to be competitive.
We won’t be seeing Engie SA’s 225MW for a good while. It could be years before we see that energy. Especially if the suffering economy continues to delay the government’s plans. But it’ll come. Eventually. When that day arrives, it will join the 320MW that the company already currently supplies to the grid.