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South Africa’s Department of Water & Sanitation Issues An EOI For Renewable Energy Plants

South Africa’s Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) is looking into augmenting its energy supplies with distributed renewable energy systems at selected water works and associated infrastructure around the country. These projects will be for a 20-year operational period under a Design-Build-Finance and Operate (DBFO) framework.

The Department of Water and Sanitation says, “South Africa has a potential to develop renewable energy at existing Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) infrastructure such as dams, barrages, weirs, irrigation systems (canals & conduits) as well as run-off river schemes. Instead of dams being constructed for the purpose of water supply, existing dams’ water bodies that are used for other purposes can be fitted with floating solar PV and wind power plants and conduit pipes that can be fitted with turbines in order to augment the electricity supply on-site. This is in line with the multiple-use approach enshrined in the 2013 National Water Policy Review.”

The Department is now actively looking into the installation of conduit hydropower, floating/ground-mounted solar PV and wind power plant projects to augment power within the selected government waterworks and associated infrastructure. The Department has therefore invited Expressions of Interest (EOI) from bidders, companies, and developers to generate information that will assist the department to assess aspects of potential renewable energy projects at selected government waterworks infrastructure for the selection of renewable energy developers for the development of potential types of renewable energy plants as well as the operation and maintenance of the same.

The EOI is looking into:

  • Solar Power Generation – Floating/Ground-mounted systems
  • Wind Power Generation – land/however erected systems
  • Hydropower – Conduit hydropower systems
  • Conservation of water loss due to less evaporation
  • Creation of employment to the communities in the vicinity of the dams/pump stations
  • As the solar power project might be installed on a water surface, the other land surfaces for the same capacity of the project can be utilized for other purposes
  • The land required for the project will be leased out by the DWS in accordance with government legal prescripts.
  • DWS would be the primary energy off-taker and where there is a surplus of energy the IPP must have secondary users/off-takers

The Department has identified dams, water pumping stations, and various other sites as the tentative locations where DWS intends to procure new electricity generation capacity from IPP to reduce the ongoing and increasing cost of energy and the reliance on electricity from the grid. 19 sites have been listed in the EOI for the initial study. The EOI show sites with Notified Maximum Demand (NMD) in MVA ranging from 0.35 to 28.85 MVA. Submissions are due on 18 April.

South Africa is going through one of its worst ever periods of electricity rationing. It is great to see the DWS is looking into complementing its grid supply with its own local generation capacity from renewables. South Africa needs as much new generation capacity as it can get.  These kinds of distributed renewable energy resources will go a long way in adding this much needed capacity if implemented at scale by various organizations around the country.

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