Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson has announced the ten preferred bidders in the department’s Small Projects Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers (IPPs) Programme.

The Minister announced this when she officially opened the South African International Renewable Energy Conference (SAIREC) 2015 on Monday.

The programme is targeted at independent power producers that can roll-out projects with the capacity to produce between one and five Megawatts of energy.

“As a country, we have also been aware of creating opportunities for small and medium sized entrepreneurs in our renewable energy programme. Last night (Sunday,) at the SAIREC welcome cocktail reception, I announced ten winners under the Small Projects Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Programme. The intention of the programme is to assist small developers to gain assistance in project development as well as in raising the necessary funding projects of this nature,” she said.

The ten preferred bidders, as announced by the Minister, are Adams Solar PV Project (Pty) Ltd, Bellatrix Solar PV Project, Du Plessis Solar PV4, Steynsrus PV2, Heuningspruit PV1, Steynsrus PV1, Klawer Wind Farm, Hopefield Community Wind Farm, George Small Scale Biomass to Energy and Busby Renewables (Biomass.)

The announcement of the new small IPPs comes not long after Minister Joemat-Pettersson announced the 13 other preferred bidders in the renewable energy independent power producer procurement programme’s Bid Window 4 in June.

The 13 projects were tipped to supply an additional 1,084MW of electricity to the national grid. The Minister said to date, more than 6,000 MW of electricity has been procured from 37 renewable energy independent power producers.

“South Africa’s renewable programme is not only about electricity but, also broader empowerment. The contribution of these projects to the broader national development objectives, including economic development, social upliftment, job creation, broad based economic empowerment and development of small and women owned vendors, are a hallmark of the programme and it is these contributions that we are watching with pride,” she said.

The Minister said, meanwhile, that the SAIREC 2015 conference was an opportunity for investors in the energy sector to explore opportunities that can be exploited in South Africa and in the continent.

Africa’s renewable energy potential revealed

Mr Adnan Amin, the Director-General of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) said Africa had the potential of upping its generation of renewable energy from 5% to 22% by 2030.

He said as the demand for electricity is projected to grow by 2030, renewable energy would contribute towards the electrifying of households across the continent.

Africa’s electricity demand has increased by 80% over the past 15 years, Amin said.

“After a decade of sustained growth, Africa is rising but needs secure and affordable energy to power its future growth. What we know today is that the potential is immense. Africa has bountiful and buried renewable energy resources, including excellent solar across the continent, hydro in many countries, strong wind resources and powerful geothermal in East Africa’s rift valley.”

He said renewable energy deployment in Africa can reach 310 GW by 2030 on the basis of the technology and the business case that the world has today. Amin said more than 600 million people in Africa remained without electricity – the biggest unelectrified population in the world.

He said it was expected to grow to 700 million by 2030, based on current trends.

“Renewable energy will be critical to lift these citizens from energy poverty. Access to electricity fulfils basic energy needs and can lead to a more accessible and reliable water supply, the extension of basic rural health care services and outreach of telecommunication services in rural areas. It is a means of stimulating economy wide development and a pathway to poverty eradication,” he said.