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Nersa registers 16 more distributed projects to add 211 MW

nersa projects
June 07, 2022

by nfdeklerk 0 comment

Nersa registers 16 more distributed projects to add 211 MW

The National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) has approved the registration of a further 16 distributed generation projects with a combined capacity of 211 MW and a collective investment value of R3.65-billion.

The approvals were made during a regulator executive committee meeting on June 6, at which full-time regulator member for electricity regulation Nhlanhla Gumede stated that the 100 MW reform “is now truly in play”.

The reform was announced jointly by President Cyril Ramaphosa and Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe in June 2021 and theoretically opened the way for projects below 100 MW to proceed without a licence, even when such facilities wheel electricity through the grid and sell to nonrelated customers.

Prior to the reform the project threshold had been 1 MW.

However, the reform has faced some implementation difficulties, including registration, grid connection and environmental approval bottlenecks.

As a result, Operation Vulindlela intervened in an effort to reduce red tape around the reform generally, as well as to support individual projects, with the first large registrations, involving two 100 MW solar photovoltaic (PV) projects in the North West province, approved in late May.

Of the latest 16 registrations, five projects are above 5 MW in size, with the largest project being an 80 MW solar PV facility, in Limpopo.

The majority of the projects, however, remain below 1 MW in size and are described as ‘own use’ facilities by Nersa.

The commercial projects for which registration certificates were approved and power purchase agreements noted, included:

Lephalale Solar’s 80 MW solar PV facility, in Limpopo;
Msenge Emoyeni’s 72 MW wind project, in the Eastern Cape;
Richtersveld Sunspot’s 40 MW solar PV facility, in the Northern Cape;
Sturdee Energy’s 10 solar PV project, in Limpopo; and
Terradew Three’s 0.77 MW facility, in Limpopo.
The largest own-use registration related to a 5 MW solar PV project, which will be developed for chemicals group Omnia in Sasolburg, in the Free State.

Nersa reports that cumulative registrations under both the 100 MW reform and the previous regime, which had a 1 MW threshold for grid-connected projects, have increased to about 600 and that the registered facilities have a combined capacity of 503 MW.