Energy regulator Nersa appears to be stepping up the pace when it comes to approving the registration of new private power generation plants in South Africa.
The regulator said on Tuesday that it approved 16 generation projects in May, with commercial, utility-scale projects among them – the largest is a planned 80MW solar facility.
Government last year lifted the cap on private power generation projects that don’t have to go through a formal licensing process from 1MW to 100MW. It did this due to persistent load shedding and the inability of Eskom to meet the nation’s demand for electricity. However, the regular has been criticised, including by Eskom CEO André de Ruyter, for attaching too much red tape to the approvals process.
In a recent interview with the Centre for Risk Analysis’s David Ansara, De Ruyter said the process for registration of projects below 100MW “is pretty much identical to the [full] licensing process. It smacks of bad engineering to take one process and say we are liberalising, and then replacing it with another process under another name that is identical.”
The Eskom CEO said the presidency was, however, “seized with the matter” and was engaging with Nersa to try to speed up the registration process and cut through the red tape.
That pressure appears to be paying off, with Nersa saying on Tuesday that all 16 applications approved in May were received in April and processed within 19 working days.
Nersa’s latest approvals have seen the green light given to 11 projects that will generate electricity for their backers’ own use as well as five facilities that will produce energy for sale, the regulator said.
“All applicants have connection approvals from licensed distributors. Twelve applicants will be connected to the Eskom network and four to the municipal networks. Fifteen applicants use solar PV technology, and one applicant uses wind turbine technology,” it said.
The projects approved for commercial purposes, all to connect via Eskom’s grid and all solar except where stated, are:
- Lephalale Solar — 80MW
- Msenge Emoyeni Wind Farm — 72MW (wind)
- Richtersveld Sunspot — 40MW
- Sturdee Energy — 10MW
- Terradew Three — 0.77MW
The projects approved for own use are (all solar PV, grid connection in brackets):
- Emling Properties — 0.22MW (City of Ekurhuleni)
- Vega Instruments SA — 0.150MW (Eskom)
- Donaventa Holdings t/a Dixon Batteries — 1MW (Emfuleni municipality)
- Fairvest Property Holdings and the Axis Group — 0.226MW (Eskom)
- Fairvest Property Holdings and the Axis Group – 0.32MW (Eskom)
- Bo-Karoo Boerdery Trust — 0.108MW (Eskom)
- Capital Propfund — 0.13MW (City of Tshwane)
- Die Afrikaanse Taal-en-Kultuurverening NPS — 0.3MW (Eskom)
- K2012150042 (South Africa) — 0.6MW (City of Tshwane)
- Limberlost — 0.35MW (Eskom)
- Omnia Group — 5MW (Eskom)
Since the increase of the registration threshold from 1MW to 100MW, Nersa has approved 216 registration applications. – © 2022 NewsCentral Media
Now read: Nersa approves first 100MW private power projects