The South African Renewable Energy Council (SAREC) welcomes the confirmation by the Minister of Finance that the continuation of South Africa’s independent power producer programme is an imperative, given the need to boost investment in the short term.
“With 35 per cent of the labour force unemployed, economic growth in the doldrums and poverty concentrated in townships and rural areas, South Africa’s renewable power programme is well-placed to drive the economy forward,” said Brenda Martin, Chair SAREC.
The Department of Energy reports that the renewables program has to date brought in an incredible USD 14 Billion of foreign direct investment and created over 20 000 construction and 35 000 operational jobs.
Eskom’s refusal to sign power purchase agreements for the fourth bid round has caused an extended delay to the renewables programme and is prevented the entry of R58 billion into the economy and stalling the creation of over 13 000 construction jobs.
Eskom’s failure to fulfil its legal mandate and its ongoing attempts to delay and renegotiate duly procured projects cannot be tolerated. These actions send entirely the wrong message to investors. They also have direct negative impacts on small businesses and rural communities that could otherwise be benefitting from the construction process.
Both the president and the minister of finance have now confirmed that Eskom must conclude the outstanding power purchase agreements. Eskom’s continued self-interested obstruction constitutes nothing less than economic sabotage.