Eskom to buy renewable energy plants

To help ease power shortages and relieve its carbon footprint.

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa’s power utility Eskom will start procuring renewable energy projects next month to help ease power shortages in the country and relieve its carbon footprint, it said on Wednesday.

The utility said it would start the procurement in October or November, even before a planned independent power purchase body, to be created to negotiate power purchase deals separately from Eskom, was created.

Eskom’s head of the Single Buyer Office, Yousuf Haffejee, said the procurement, expected to add 1,025 megawatts to the national grid, would take up to a year to be completed, with the plants to be commissioned by 2012-13.

“Construction of (renewable energy power plants) will come after financial close,” Haffejee told Reuters.

Green energy projects beyond the 1,025 MW would be decided by a new integrated resource plan under debate in government.

Solar and wind plants are mainly planned for the Eastern, Northern and Western Cape provinces, while other renewable energy plants would be constructed in areas with easy connection to the national power grid, he said.

Eskom, battling to raise some of the 385 billion rand to pay for new capacity in Africa’s largest economy, is keen to have independent power producers (IPPs) participate in power generation projects.

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