South Africa looks to dams and rivers to stop load shedding

 ·6 Apr 2023

The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) has called on Independent Power Producers (IPP) to apply for water use authorisations to utilise its water resources, water courses and infrastructure to generate hydropower as alternative energy to supplement the current electricity available in the grid.

The department has initiated the DWS Hydropower Independent Producer Programme (DWS HIPP) in an effort to allow for the available water infrastructure and water courses, including rivers and dams, to be used to contribute to the power grid with renewable energy.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the department said the government has approved multipronged interventions to address the current energy crisis, which has led to loadshedding across the country in order to manage the available energy.

“One of the key objectives of the government’s Energy Action Plan was to remove barriers to new generation capacity and unlock energy from many different sources, including independent power producers in order to add as much energy as possible to the grid. Linked to this objective is an intervention aimed at enabling and accelerating private investment in generation capacity.

“The department is inviting persons to make use of the water resources, watercourses and its infrastructure to generate renewable energy power.”

“The types of hydropower technologies to apply for include impoundment, river diversion or run-of-river; pumped storage and floating or kinetic turbines (small-scale generating capacity). In addition to the above, applications for floating solar panels can also be made,” the department said.

The department said a hybrid briefing session, where interested applicants will be taken through the programme and application processes, will be held on 11 April 2023 at Protea Hotel OR Tambo in Ekurhuleni, Gauteng.

“A window for applications will be opened on 17 April 2023 for interested parties to submit pre-applications for water use authorisations. Information on the application process is accessible in the Electronic Water Use Licence and Application and Authorisation System (E-WULAAS) on DWS: E-WULAAS – Documents on the department website homepage.”

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