South Africa Announces Feed In Tariffs

South Africa is the latest country to offer feed in tariff incentives to stimulate uptake of renewable energy. 

Announced yesterday, the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) has provided details of financial support for production of electricity through wind energy, solar power, small-scale hydro and landfill gas.

The feed in tariff for wind energy will be R1.25c (AUD 19c) per kWh, small-scale hydro technology will be 94 cents (AUD 15 cents) per kWh, landfill gas 90 cents (AUD 13.6 cents) per KWh, while the tariff for solar power (solar thermal, not PV) will be R2.10 (AUD 31.8 cents) per KWh.

These rates are far below many other countries, but according to an agency spokesman, the amounts were based on the levelised cost of electricity along with an added incentive to stimulate investment. 

The announced rates were substantially higher than those originally proposed after criticism from the local renewable energy industry and environmental groups. The program will be active for 20 years and the rates reviewed every year for the first five year period following  implementation and every three years from that point on.

South Africa has a set a target of 10 000 GWh of renewable energy based electricity generation by 2013, around 25% of  projected electricity demand by that year of 41539 GWh. Currently South Africa is the largest emitter of greenhouse gases on the continent, due in part to its use of coal for 90 percent of its electricity needs. Energy related emissions account for over 78% of overall greenhouse gas generated in the country.