Power, or lack of it, is probably the biggest threat to South Africa’s economy. The Covid-19 pandemic will eventually recede, but load shedding preceded it and will almost certainly outlast it. At last, there is movement on getting additional power plugged into the grid, with Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe announcing the preferred bidders for the emergency power procurement programme that was launched in August of 2020.
“The quantity and quality of the bid responses and potential megawatt of contracted capacity allowed for a competitive price evaluation,” said Mantashe.
“All compliant bids were subjected to local and international benchmarking, which is necessary to ensure that we receive value for money as required by the legislation.”
The preferred bidders are: Acwa Power Project DA, Karpowership SA Coega, Karpowership SA Richards Bay, Karpowership SA Saldanha, Mulilo Total Coega, Mulilo Total, Hydra Storage, Oya Energy Hybrid Facility and Umoyilanga Energy.
In February of 2020, Karpowership told the Reuters news agency that its ships, which anchor off-shore, are capable of providing a range of power options from 30 megawatts to about 600MW. Acwa is a Saudi company.
“These eight projects will inject a total private sector investment amount of R45-billion to the South African economy, with an average local content of 50% during the construction period. South African entity participation from these projects is 51%, with black ownership at 41%,” Mantashe said, noting that this should ease concerns about white monopoly capital.
About 3,800 job opportunities are expected to be created during the 18-month construction period and a further 13,500 during the 20-year Purchase Power Agreement Term.