South Africa seeks bids for 7,615 MW of new power generation

South Africa on Thursday launched three bidding rounds for 7,615 megawatts (MW) of new power generation from renewable energy, natural gas and battery storage, part of efforts to overcome record power outages crippling economic output.

The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy said in a statement it had issued three requests for proposals (RFPs) for independent power producers to generate 5,000 MW of renewable energy, 2,000 MW from gas and 615 MW from battery storage.

South Africa started procuring power from private developers more than a decade ago to supplement struggling state utility Eskom’s ailing coal-fired power station fleet.

Before Thursday it had launched six renewable energy bidding rounds dominated by wind and solar projects, one battery storage round, as well as an emergency “risk-mitigation” round that opted for gas-fired powerships among preferred bidders alongside renewable energy projects.

The emergency round got bogged down in environmental opposition and court challenges, with the bulk of the projects still seeking funds to build as of last month.

To date 90 renewable energy projects have completed construction and are operational, adding 6,180 MW of capacity to the grid, while nine projects representing more than 1,000 MW are currently under construction, energy minister Gwede Mantashe said in a written response to lawmakers distributed by parliament on Thursday.

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