South Africa selects 1.6GW wind in latest renewables tender

Wind accounts for majority of capacity selected in South African renewables auction, but is beaten on price by solar PV

Mainstream Renewable Power was selected for more than half of the capacity chosen in the tender

South Africa has awarded preferred bidder status to 12 onshore wind farms with a combined capacity of just over 1.6GW in its latest renewable energy tender.

The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy also selected 13 solar PV projects, with a combined capacity of just under 1GW, in the fifth tender round of its renewable energy independent power producer procurement programme (REIPPPP).

Wind projects were selected with a weighted average bid price of ZAR 513.1/MWh (US$33.43/MWh) – slightly higher than the ZAR 473.94/MWh weighted average for the wind and solar projects combined.

Irish developer Mainstream Renewable Power secured preferred bidder status for 824MW of wind and 450MW of solar projects in the tender. Meanwhile, EDF Renewables was successful for 420MW of wind capacity.

In total, the 25 projects will represent more than ZAR 50 billion of investment and create nearly 14,000 jobs, according to the South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA).

In 2019 South Africa announced plans to award contracts for 14.4GW of new wind power capacity due to be installed between 2022 and 2030 – more than any other energy source in this period.

A coal organisation’s legal challenge had threatened projects successful in the country’s fourth tender round, but South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal ultimately rejected the case in March 2020, paving the way for developers to sign final contracts for their projects.

South African energy minister Gwede Mantashe said that he expects to open the country’s sixth renewables tender in January 2022.

SAWEA chair Mercia Grimbeek said: “Consecutive bidding rounds will enable local manufacturing facilities to be re-established and the potential expansion of already operating manufacturers, which is crucial in creating long term sustainable jobs.”