These bids are part of the South African government’s attempt to reduce reliance on coal while increasing the nation’s generation capacity. Eskom, the state owned power utility, has been having difficulties keeping up with South Africa’s rapidly increasing demand for energy. South Africa hopes to add 3,725 MW of renewable energy generation capacity by 2016 to diversify generation and increase output.
Out of the 17 projects announced, seven projects are for 787 MW of wind generation, six projects are for 450 MW of PV solar parks, one is for 16 MW of biomass, one is for 18 MW of landfill gas, and two are for 200 MW of solar plants.
A Mainstream Renewable Power-led consortium won big in this third round of bids for the South African Renewable Energy Procurement Program. Mainstream, a solar and wind company based out of Ireland, won three large wind energy projects from the Department of Energy. The three projects, located in the Northern Cape, have a total capacity of 360 MW. Construction will begin sometime after August 2014, and they are expected to cost over $900 million.
This most recent win follows a previous victory by Mainstream in South Africa. In 2011, Mainstream won 238 MW of solar and wind projects. These projects are proceeding as planned, and are expected to be fully functioning by mid-2014.
All told, 93 bids were submitted. More preferred bids will be announced later in November.