Renewables enthusiasm curbed as IPP signing is delayed again

The excitement associated with Energy Minister Jeff Radebe’s move to end two years of confidence-sapping uncertainty in South Africa’s independent power producer (IPP) market, turned to frustration on Tuesday when the signing of agreements for 27 renewable-energy projects was voluntarily delayed by government following a legal challenge. The legal objection arose from an unlikely partnership between National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) and Transform RSA, which approached the court to prevent power utility Eskom from concluding power purchase agreements (PPAs) with the IPPs on March 13 as planned. Hitherto, Numsa and Transform RSA have been on opposing ends of the political spectrum, with Numsa participating in calls for the removal of President Jacob Zuma and Transform RSA stongly supporting the former President.