South Africa’s Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe, has announced plans to open bids for additional renewable energy procurement. In his Budget Vote speech for the 2023/24 financial year, Mantashe revealed that Bid Windows 7 and 8 will each offer 5,000 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy capacity. Requests for proposals for this capacity will be issued to the market in the second and fourth quarters of the financial year. Additionally, there will be requests for proposals for battery storage procurement totaling 1,230 MW and gas-to-power procurement totaling 3,000 MW in the second and fourth quarters respectively. The fourth quarter will also see a bid for proposals for the procurement of 2,500 MW of nuclear energy.
To bridge the electricity supply and demand gap, Mantashe’s team will present an updated Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) to the Cabinet soon. The IRP 2019, which outlines the country’s policy for electricity generation, is currently under review. In terms of achieving universal access to electricity for impoverished households, the government aims to connect 917,000 households to the grid. Over 673,000 households have already been connected, with the remaining 243,000 expected to be connected during the current financial year. Mantashe emphasized the government’s commitment to realizing this developmental agenda, despite domestic and global challenges affecting the mining and energy sectors.
As part of the electricity sector reform, the Electricity Regulation Act has been amended to enable the creation of the transmission systems operator (TSO), in line with the President’s call for reform. The Minister urged Members of Parliament to expedite the tabling and discussion of the legislation. The government has made significant progress in procuring renewable energy through programs such as the Risk Mitigation Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (RMIPPPP) and the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP), having already secured 7,786 MW through Bid Windows 4, 5, and 6. However, grid unavailability remains a significant challenge, hindering the allocation of wind capacity and impacting both public procurement programs and private embedded generation initiatives. Mantashe stressed the criticality of grid availability for ensuring future electricity supply.
The Minister also highlighted the growing demand for liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), which can reduce electricity demand during peak hours and alleviate the severity of load shedding. Encouraging consumers to utilize LPG for space heating could provide an efficient energy source.