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South Africa’s $12 Billion Renewable Power Plan Gets 53 Bids

South Africa received 53 bids to build 2,100 megawatts of renewable power capacity in the first phase of a program valued at as much as $12 billion, with projects split almost equally between wind and solar.

About half the tenders for the plan, which will total 3,725 megawatts of capacity when completed at the end of 2016, were for wind farms, 48 percent for solar parks and 2 percent for small hydropower plants, Ompi Aphane, the deputy director general of the Department of Energy, said by phone today.

Successful bidders in the first round will be announced by the end of November or early in December, Aphane said.

South Africa plans to boost renewable power as a proportion of overall generation as it seeks to reduce dependence on coal, which is used to produce nearly 90 percent of the country’s electricity and is the worst fuel for carbon emissions. Energy Department Director General Nelisiwe Magubane estimated the value of the program at $10 billion to $12 billion on Aug. 31.

The department will hold a second and possibly a third bidding process, Aphane said. The second tender window is expected to close in March next year. The country plans to develop 17,800 megawatts of renewable power capacity by 2030.

Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd., which supplies 95 percent of South Africa’s electricity, has a total capacity of 41,200 megawatts, with about 85 percent drawn from coal-fired power stations.

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