The South African government’s plans to expand renewable energy infrastructure in the country have received a major boost in the form of financial assistance from the African Development Bank.
The African Development Bank (AfDB) has announced a $1.34 billion loan to South African utility Eskom for the expansion and strengthening of its transmission network. This exercise will enable Eskom to procure more renewable energy.
Over the last few years, South Africa’s transmission network has seen significant changes in terms of new capacity added. Several projects under the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Program (REIPPPP) have been commissioned. As is the case with any other country, South Africa’s grid, too, was not in a state to fully or efficiently absorb this capacity.
Now, with the planned expansion of the REIPPPP it has become imperative that Eskom invests in improving the grid’s ability to absorb more renewable energy.
Through the first 4 auctions under the REIPPPP, South Africa managed to allocate 5,443 MW of capacity, mainly in the form of wind and solar power projects. A total number of 79 projects have been allocated to some of the leading national and international project developers.
Last year, the Minister of Energy, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, announced that she would approach the National Energy Regulator (NERSA) to make arrangements to offer an additional 6.3 GW in future auctions.
Some of the project developers successfully participating in the auctions include Scatec Solar, SunEdison, Acciona, Abengoa Solar, and Enel Green Power. Some of the major lenders to the selected projects are the African Development Bank, KfW, Norfund, the International Finance Corporation, Industrial Development Corporation, and the Development Bank of Southern Africa.
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