The Department of Energy has delayed its draft energy plans, leaving the renewable energy sector in a R50 billion limbo, South African Renewable Energy Council (Sarec) chairperson Brenda Martin said.
In an interview with Fin24, Martin said that the DoE had scheduled to close public comments on the proposed draft Integrated Energy Plan and the Integrated Resource Plan on 15 February 2017, but has now extended this date to 31 March 2017, “following requests from a number of stakeholders”.
She noted that Eskom had also previously refused to issue final budget quotes to preferred bidders of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer (IPP) Procurement Programme – effectively putting a combined R50 billion in investment into the country on hold.
“(This) is ludicrous when considering our current economic climate…All political sentiment suggests that there is full support for this to happen, so we really are confused about why is it that Eskom is just digging its heels in,” Martins said.
In the same interview, Sarec director Mark Pickering accused Eskom of “hoarding cash” for its nuclear build, which he said it clearly intends to pursue.
Pickering claimed that pressure was being put on Treasury in many forms to finance nuclear, and it was the ‘elephant in the room’ that was not being addressed in meetings between the two groups.
Sarec was considering legal options on the matter.
Meanwhile, acting Eskom CEO Matshela Koko said that Sarec was ignoring the fact that, like nuclear, any ongoing growth in power purchase agreements with independent power producers “should be rolled out at a scale and pace that the country can afford”.
He said that Sarec was pushing the notion that Eskom is engaged in a sustained attack on the renewable energy programme, while “turning a blind eye” to the impact of renewable IPP costs on tariffs.