Here are some of the biggest renewable projects planned for South Africa – including Ramaphosa’s latest

 ·21 Oct 2022

South Africa has been on a major push towards renewable energy as not only the national power utility fails to meet the people’s energy needs, but the global community also encourages a shift away from fossil fuel reliance.

Speaking to the media after a business visit in Saudi Arabia, President Cyril Ramaphosa said that discussions with the kingdom had formed a springboard for many energy initiatives domestically.

Ramaphosa said that the Saudis believe South Africa to be the best foundation for independent power producers (IPP) in the world. Saudi-owned ACWA Power already invests and develops heavily in South Africa.

Ramaphosa, however, did note a flaw that is pushing business away: “Another business said that as much as they would like to ship goods through to South Africa, they have found that our port system is too slow and bureaucratic… we took this to heart.”

In July of this year, the president announced the unlocking of approximately $8.5 billion (R140 billion) worth of green energy investment opportunities for the country. The greenlit Just Transition Framework provides policy considerations for shifting the labour force equitably away from coal production to renewables.

The money is pledged from the UK, US, Germany, France and the EU. Ramaphosa said the framework advocates for a massive expansion of renewable energy, battery storage, new energy vehicles, green minerals and the hydrogen economy.

ACWA Power

  • 100MW
  • R11.6 billion

ACWA Power has greenlit the Redstone solar power plant in the Northern Cape, costing R11.6 billion and planned for commercial operation in Q4 of 2023. Ramaphosa added that the country’s IPP system had enabled ACWA’s business to make considerable returns.


  • 540MW
  • $1 billion (R16.4 billion at the time)

Halfway through this year, the Norwegian renewables company Scatec announced that it would start the construction of three renewable projects in the Northern Cape.

“This project is a first of its kind and will be one of the world’s largest solar and battery facilities. We are now looking forward to starting construction of this unique and exciting project, which will be a major contribution to South Africa’s economy and green energy sector,” said Scatec chief executive Terje Pilskog.

The projects are part of the government’s Risk Mitigation Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (RMIPPPP) and aim to bring online a total solar capacity of 540Mw and battery storage.

Soetwater Wind Farm

  • 147MW
  • R3.5 billion

Italian Enel Green Power has also embarked on developing wind farms across the country, with its latest setting it back R3.5 billion. Also located in the Northern Cape, the new Soetwater farm is the seventh in the country and will be able to generate 585 Gwh every year.

The United Kingdom has followed suit in making South Africa home to its new energy projects after a case study comparing African countries found South Africa the best bet for green energy development. The UK government propose the following potential projects:

  • Green hydrogen production
  • On-shore wind farm development
  • Utility solar project development

Alongside the Just Transition initiative, Ramaphosa announced an energy crisis plan that introduced regulations that would fast-track energy generation projects and alleviate red tape around the requirements for renewable-power projects.

Minister of the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe said that under the Renewable Independent Power Producer Programme (REIPPP), South Africa has 32 online new wind energy projects, which already contribute 3,000MW of energy.


National power utility Eskom, which has been struggling to keep the lights on across the country, recently announced that it would assist domestically with the launch of its own renewable energy projects.

On 15 October, Eskom announced that it had signed leasing contracts for four renewable energy companies to build new renewable energy facilities on land owned by the power utility.

This marks the first set of lease contracts with private businesses being inked. It consists of land parcels near the Mpumalanga power plants at Majuba and Tutuka.

According to Eskom, the four IPPs will lease 6,184 hectares of land for 25 to 30 years each and contribute an estimated 2,000MW to the national electricity grid.

Such kinds of developments are only the start, with the utilities CEO Andre de Ruyter saying that the country needs to spend roughly R1.2 trillion by 2030 to ensure sufficient generation.

The CEO said that Eskom further proposes to emphasise renewable energy systems bringing thousands of megawatts through new projects, including:

  • 3,500MW from the Seriti renewables projects
  • 2,000MW from independent power producers (IPPs) on leased land
  • 2,600MW from REIPPP 5 projects
  • 5,200MW from REIPPP 6 projects
  • 7,000+MW from other projects


A booming renewable energy sector has, however, faced hurdles, with the government being the biggest. State-owned Eskom has fallen short of its plans to add renewable power to the grid.

CEO of Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA), Busi Mavuso, said that government delays, corruption and red tape have all contributed to this failure.

The Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Programme (REIPPP) projects sought to bring online independent renewable power producers that could assist in the country’s just transition away from coal, but the bid windows for their procurement have been subpar.

Mavuso said the department had planned to reach financial close for Round 5 bidding within six months of announcing the winners on 29 October 2021 – but this has simply not materialised.

“Since 2015, South Africa has not seen one smooth procurement process. “The REIPPP programme has been beset with issues since round 4 was delayed back in 2015.

Mavuso said that if procurement practices are to remain the same, it could damage South Africa’s reputation as a place of efficient foreign investment and in turn drive away opportunities to develop new energy systems.

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