Some light at the end of the load shedding tunnel: new independent power plants could be connected to the grid by February. Here’s what is coming online and when.
- 27 renewable energy independent power producer projects (REIPPP), which have been under construction under Bid Window 4, are on the verge of completion
- Some of them are expected to be connecting to the grid from as early as February next year.
- Together they can add 2,300MW to Eskom’s struggling grid – enough to avoid stage 2 load shedding.
- Here’s what is coming from the bid 4 window, and when.
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There is at least some light at the end of the load-shedding tunnel.
The 27 renewable energy independent power producer projects (REIPPP), which have been under construction under bid window 4, are on the verge of completion – with some of them expected to be connecting to the grid from as early as February next year.
Together the projects can add 2,300MW to Eskom’s struggling grid, as noted on the IPP projects website, providing a mixture of wind, solar, biomass, and hydro to a mix struggling from wet coal.
While they won’t be enough to solve load shedding altogether, their combined output is equivalent to all the power shed from the load during stage 2 load shedding, and could help prevent the use of expensive emergency diesel generators.
Wind projects make up a large chunk of the renewable energy contribution to the projects under construction.
On average it takes just 18 to 24 months to go from construction to commercial operation for such plants, Ntombifuthi Ntuli, South Africa Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) CEO, told Business Insider. But, before this can even begin, you need to add in 12 months for the bidding process.
According to Wido Schnabel, Chairperson of the South African Photovoltaic Industry Association (SAPVIA), the first of some 813MW worth of power from solar projects will also be coming online from late February 2020. They are on schedule to reach full capacity by November 2020.
Solar takes an average construction period of 12 to 18 months for a large PV park.
“The upfront planning and design process does take some time, including the implementation of grid access. The construction of grid access facilities by Eskom can sometimes be the limiting factor to power being brought to the grid,” Schnabel told Business Insider.
See also: Abandoned South African mines could become giant batteries to fend off load shedding if a UK company has its way
In order to get energy onto the grid fast, SAPVIA believes government needs to urgently lift the curtailment on plants that are already connected to the grid; and relax the licensing requirements for small-scale embedded generators below a threshold of 10MW.
More renewables will take at least 3 years from now.
This will be the last round of renewable energy projects until the next, round 5 of the REIPPP, has been signed off.
That means it will take some 18 months before the construction of more renewable energy plants can begin, Ntuli said – which makes 2022 "a very optimistic" timeframe for more generation capacity to be connected to the grid.
Here’s some of the projects from bid window 4, and when they should go live:
Kangnas Wind Farm, Northern Cape - 140MW.
Construction of the Kangnas Wind Farm started in June 2018. 19 months later the wind farm is reported to be on time and on budget, having lifted over half of the 61 turbines.
It could be contributing electricity to the grid by late February or early March, after completing the construction of a transmission substation, which would normally fall on to Eskom to build. It is the first time that an independent power producer in South Africa has taken on such a task in order to get onto the grid faster.
By late August 2020 it is expected to be fully operation with its 61 turbines contributing a total of 140MW to the grid.
Perdekraal East Wind Farm, Western Cape - 107MW.
2020 promises to be an exciting year for Perdekraal East Wind Farm as it heads into its final six months of construction. The last of the 480 wind turbine components will reach the wind farm’s construction site early February 2020 and all 48 turbines are expected to be installed by early April 2020.
“Our commercial operations date is confirmed for end-July 2020, so we are on the home run, from the time our site re-opens on 13 January. In addition to receiving the last components on site and the 48th turbine lifting, we will have completed the extension of the existing 400kV yard and construction of a new 132kV yard at the main transmission substation, Kappa, which we will be undertaking ourselves, as opposed to Eskom,” said Glenn Hobson, construction project manager for Perdekraal East Wind Farm.
ENEL is bringing in 700MW of power to add to its basket of 520MW by 2021.
Italian-based renewable energy giant Enel has a major stake in the 4th rounds bids. The company’s South African subsidiary Enel Green Power (EGP RSA) is currently building a total of five wind projects which will contribute around 700MW to the national grid.
Two facilities, at an investment of over €200 million (R3.25 billion) each, in the Northern Cape, the Karusa Wind Farm (139.8MW) and Soetwater Wind Farm (139.4MW) are due by the end of 2021
Karusa and Soetwater are the fourth and fifth wind projects Enel Green Power is building in South Africa.
The other projects, with an installed capacity of 140 MW each, are Nxuba (expected to be completed by September 2020) and Oyster Bay (first half of 2021) as well as Garob (expected later half of 2021).
EGP RSA already has more than 520MW in wind and solar plants in operation in South Africa. The company’s fully operational solar plants are the 10 MW Upington and the 82.5MW Adams in the Northern Cape province, the 82.5MW Pulida in the Free State province, the 66MW Tom Burke in Limpopo, and the 82.5MW Paleishuewel in the Western Cape. It also has another two wind farms Nojoli (88MW) and Gibson Bay (111MW), both in the Eastern Cape.
Even more wind farms:
- Golden Valley Wind - Onshore Wind 118M Eastern Cape, Cookhouse
- Roggeveld Wind Farm - Onshore Wind 140MW Northern Cape, Sutherland (expected April 2021)
Roggeveld is to date the wind farm with the lowest ever electricity tariff to have achieved financial close in South Africa.
- Copperton Windfarm Onshore Wind 102MW, Northern Cape
- Kathu Solar Park Concentrated Solar Power with storage, 100MW. Northern Cape, Kathu *Bid window 3.5 completed April 2019.
Aggeneys Solar Project - 40MW Aggeneys, Northern Cape
Bokamoso - 68MW Matlosana. North West
De Wildt - 50MW Brits, North West
Droogfontein 2 - 75MW Riverton, Northern Cape
Dyasons Klip 1- 75MW Upington, Northern Cape
Dyasons Klip 2- 75MW Upington, Northern Cape
Greefspan - 55MW Douglas, North West
Konkoonsies 2- 75MW Pofadder, Northern Cape
Sirius Solar PV One- 75MW Upington, Northern Cape
Solar Capital Orange- 75MW Loeriesfontein, Northern Cape
Waterloo- 75MW Vryberg, Northern Cape
Zeerust - 75MW Zeerust, North West
*list provided by SAPVIA
For the full list of all the IPPs currently under construction you can click here.
You can also follow this link to a map of where all the projects can be found here.
See also: This is how much it will cost to take your home off the grid - and avoid load shedding forever
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