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Mantashe defends slow progress on calling for fresh renewable power procurement


Feb. 17, 2020

GWEDE Mantashe, South African mines and energy minister, said the country would not be rushed into procuring new renewable energy.
He was referring to the latest round of government-backed renewable energy procurement that South Africa president, Cyril Ramaphosa, seemed to indicate last week would be accelerated. Ramaphosa, addressing Parliament in his State of the Nation Address, said bids for new renewable energy would be called for whilst implementing the last (fourth) round of procurement asked for by the government.
Said Mantashe: “So I’m not a fundamentalist about bid window 5. We will implement it; we always said so, but what we are not going to do is to be pushed to stumble into it. We must be systematic and ensure it is sustainable”. Mantashe’s comments come as the South Africa’s power utility, Eskom, implements virtually round-the-clock load-shedding.
Mantashe, a former mining unionist who began work in the coal sector, has come out in defence of the fuel saying it is unnecessary to prematurely kill it when there was still an abundance of the resource in the country.
He published the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), South Africa’s long-term energy planning tool, in October after a policy impasse in government for several years. He would now proceed with implementing by making a ministerial determination. The IRP provides a guide of how much of each energy source must be procured annually, said BusinessLive.
“We are busy with section 34 determination. Then we open bid window 5. The IRP gives renewables an allocation per annum that is an obligation on us,” BusinessLive quoted Mantashe to have said.
Business has urged the government for the past 12 months to undertake a fresh round of renewable energy bids from private producers to help alleviate the energy gap. The government estimates an energy capacity shortfall of between 2,000MW and 3,000MW until 2022.
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