South Africa signed project contracts — including power purchase agreements and implementation agreements — for 28 renewable energy projects in early November.
The agreements pave the way for the projects to close on their financing.
The 28 projects represent a total of 1,416 megawatts made up of 18 solar photovoltaic projects, representing 631 megawatts, two concentrated solar power projects, with a combined capacity of 150 megawatts, and eight wind farms, representing 633 megawatts.
The completion of these projects was met with excitement and some relief in the local market. Financial close for the projects had originally been scheduled to occur by last June, but delays caused by the finalization of internal and regulatory approvals by various counterparties had caused concern about the timetable for implementing South Africa’s renewable energy program.
The renewables program — called REFIT — seeks to procure some 20,000 megawatts of renewable energy over the next 20 years. The first phase of the program had originally called for the procurement of 3,725 megawatts, but theNational Energy Regulator of South Africa reportedly has approved a near-doubling of that figure. It has also been reported that 1,075 megawatts of the newly-added capacity will be allocated to solar photovoltaic projects while concentrated solar power projects will receive a 400-megawatt allocation.
There are five “bidding rounds” in the first phase staggered from November 4, 2011 to August 13, 2013.
The second bidding round, which is a step behind the 28 first-round projects, named 19 preferred projects amounting to 1,043 megawatts of total capacity. These projects are scheduled to achieve financial close by March 2013.
The third round of bidding is scheduled for May 2013.
by Keith Martin