South Africa to invest US$5.4 billion in clean energy projects

green  Accretion DiscThe South African government has selected 28 wind and solar projects for the first stage of the programme. (Image source: Accretion Disc/Flickr)South Africa has agreed to invest US$5.4bn on clean energy projects in an attempt to procure 1,400MW of electricity and reduce reliance on coal-fired plants

Energy minister Dipuo Peters said the government had selected 28 wind and solar projects for the first stage of the programme, with the contracts expected to be signed on 5 November 2012.

In a statement, he said, “These bidders will be investing about US$5.4bn in power generation and will create a number of jobs during construction and operation of these power plants.”

The plants will start production between 2014 and 2016, according to the minister. The country has also chosen another 19 renewable energy projects that will be expected to produce 1,043.9MW of electricity in the second stage of the programme, which will be finalised by late March next year. A third bidding round will close on 7 May 2013, informed ministry sources.

A ministry report showed that South Africa depended on coal for 85 per cent of its electricity supply of around 41,000MW. Last year, the country launched a process to procure cleaner energy to reduce carbon emissions and bolster electricity supply.

The report also added that South Africa wanted to use the green energy drive to boost job creation through manufacturing and requiring energy companies to source materials locally.

Apart from green energy, South Africa also has plans to procure more than 9,000MW of new electricity produced from coal, gas, regional hydro and co-generation at industrial plants by 2025.

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