South African energy minister Dipuo Peters said last week she was considering extending the renewable energy procurement programme beyond the 3725MW originally tabled for 2016, of which 1.85GW is allocated to wind power. Preferred bidders have been named for 1197MW of wind energy so far, leaving just 653MW available in the third bidding round, scheduled for October 1.
"My decision ... will be guided by the need to create a rolling programme which will provide for sustainable employment through local manufacturing, especially in the key components for solar and wind power generation," Peters said.
Extending the programme would help manufacturers by giving them longer visibility and a larger market.
At the same time, Peters said the Department of Energy hoped to reach financial close on projects selected under the first bidding round by the end of August, though it could take longer. The original deadline was for mid-June. The main problem seems to be that state utility Eskom has been unable to get all the authorisations ready in time.