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Renewables now

Cape Times Opinion, Liz McDaid and Samantha Bailey 29 July 2010.

“South Africa has the dubious honour of being one of the largest per capita sources of carbon emissions in the world. Many groups within civil society have demanded that, along with attending seriously to energy efficiency, renewable energy urgently needs to be increased to meet our energy security.

Nersa has to be applauded for publishing the Refit (Renewable Energy Feed In Tariff), but little has happened since then.

Eskom has for a long time been accused of dragging its feet on rolling out renewables, but last week, at an industry meeting held in Joburg on July 22, Eskom was quoted as stating that South Africa should be able to have 25 percent renewables by 2030.

Eskom has also signed PPAs (Power Purchase Agreements) with Sasol and Sappi for co-generation, but the government has not yet published the PPA for renewables. In addition, Eskom has R12.5 billion available within the MYPD2 for Refit projects.

So, the IPPs (Independent Power Producers) are ready, the banks are ready, Nersa is on board, and Eskom does not seem to be holding up progress. Yet the Refit rollout seems stalled. Why? The finger seems to be pointing back to the government.

Why have the Refit rules and PPA not been published yet? Is the government the obstacle here?

If the government is really serious about renewables, then we want to see that signal coming through loud and clear.

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There is more than enough political will for renewables to happen right now, so the government needs to come to the party by ensuring that, as a matter of urgency, Nersa publishes the renewable PPA and the rules that govern renewable IPPs.

And then the government should instruct Eskom to commence the signing of PPAs with renewable energy investors as soon as possible.

The time to act is now.”

Liz McDaid – Green Connection

Samantha Bailey – 350.org South Africa

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