Unbelievable: Coal puts halt to South Africa’s renewables industry
Just last week, it appeared an end was finally in sight for the renewables PPA saga, which has been ongoing for three years, when new Energy Minister, Jeff Radebe announced the 27 outstanding solar and wind PPAs would be signed today, March 13, by energy utility, Eskom.
Hopes were high that this deadline would, unlike the others, finally be met. Chris Ahlfeldt, energy specialist at Blue Horizon Energy Consulting Services told pv magazine at the time, “There have been a number of commitments made to signing these outstanding PPAs over the past few years, but the difference this time is South Africa’s new President and Minister of Energy who have committed to resolving the impasse in the energy sector created by the previous administration.”
In an incredulous turn of events, however, two unions – The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) and Transform RSA NPC – went to the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria at the eleventh hour to “obtain an urgent court interdict to prevent Eskom from concluding the outstanding renewable energy Independent Power Producer (IPP) products, including the power purchase agreements.”
In a statement, NUMSA wrote, “NUMSA believes that the signing of these contracts would be detrimental for the working class of Mpumalanga and the country as a whole.