The ABC Of The REIPPPP - Business Media MAGS

BD Energy


South Africa’s renewable energy tender programme is about more than adding clean power to South Africa’s grid, writes Trevor Crighton.

South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) was set up to increase the supply of renewable energy and help alleviate the energy shortfall that has led to more than a decade of load shedding. Beyond that, it also aims to contribute to environmentally sustainable socioeconomic growth.

The Atlantis Special Economic Zone (SEZ) has a specific focus on the facilitation of green technology investment, in line with REIPPPP requirements around local beneficiation, among other things. “Our location accommodates manufacturers of green technology products also suitable for REIPPPP project value chains,” says Jarrod Lyons, business development executive for green technologies at the Atlantis SEZ.

Lyons explains that REIPPPP project bidders develop project proposals, which are submitted to the Independent Power Producer Office. “Once a project is selected, it’s up to the developer to resource and build it – and areas like the Atlantis SEZ can facilitate the production of components associated with these projects,” he says. “A wind turbine is a massive structure that is difficult to transport, so it makes sense to produce it locally in an SEZ that is able to offer benefits via being closely located to projects in the country.”

The unique selling point of the Atlantis SEZ centres around its ability to cluster and co-locate similar entities. This capitalises on the sharing of resources and logistics, and the repurposing of waste products by other linked industries. “We can build a community of investors who are resource and energy efficient, and provide a more competitive landscape,” says Lyons. “It’s a ‘living lab’ approach to doing business.

“Part of our responsibility is to position ourselves as a location for the local manufacture of components that feed into renewable energy projects, the broader REIPPPP, and other green technology value chains like electric mobility and energy storage, for example.”

Blowing in the wind

South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) chair Mercia Grimbeek says that the next decade will see the acceleration of wind-power procurement, considering the decreasing cost and the allocation in the country’s energy road map. “This is demonstrated in the latest Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), which maps out the energy mix for the next 10 years and envisions the nation’s electricity production capacity rising significantly by 2030.”

Grimbeek says around 14.4GW of wind has been allocated in the IRP, giving wind energy 18 per cent of the total capacity allocation. “Our ballpark figure for required annual investment to build that capacity of wind projects is R40-billion per annum, so there is a massive opportunity for investors to be part of transitioning the South African power system to a green one.”

SAWEA is of the opinion that enabling the required quantity and quality of components will require at least two to three years of investment and development, reinforcing the need for rolling procurements without interruptions or delays. Grimbeek says that this will allow all aspects of the value chain, not only the manufacturing sector, to expand.

The local green technology manufacturing industry has significant room to grow and mature. Lyons says there have been positive moves by government to facilitate this growth, notably by promoting local content uptake and increasing the number of designated components in the renewable energy value chain that need to be produced locally.

“We also work with companies to help develop the skills of their labour force,” he adds. “We look at the requirements, develop a curriculum and administer it to help upskill workers, for the good of the greater industry.”

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