• Program in current form seen taking 2-3 years to break ground
  • Small-scale procurement could deliver power sooner: Siemens

South Africa’s plan to develop gas-fired power plants could be accelerated if the government fast-tracked smaller-scale projects, according to Siemens AG.

“Even the tendering process could be much faster than what is currently anticipated,” Andreas Pistauer, executive vice president for power and gas in Africa at Siemens, said in an interview in Cape Town. “Our advice is to fast-track procurement.”

South Africa this week created a Gas Industrialization Unit to implement a 3,726-megawatt gas-to-power program, after a series of managed blackouts last year curbed growth in an economy that’s at risk of slipping into recession. The government is trying to reduce the nation’s dependence on coal and spur the development of infrastructure to support domestic gas supplies.

Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson last week said a preliminary information memo on the gas-to-power program will be available later this year, after earmarking another 600 megawatts for partnerships between private and state-owned companies.

South Africa could start procurement immediately, Pistauer said, adding that the current trajectory would only see site works start in two to three years. A smaller initial project, with the government procuring gas separately, could result in construction beginning next year with power being supplied in two years, he said.

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