Nersa delays green tariffs

2011-05-24 14:37

Johannesburg - The National Energy Regulator of SA (Nersa) said on Tuesday that it had delayed the approval of the renewable energy feed-in tariff (Refit) until mid-June.

Nersa said it was still analysing and consolidating all information received from stakeholders after public hearings earlier in May.

A total of 200 written comments were received and more than 40 presentations made during the public hearings, it said.

The delay in the approval is likely to anger independent renewable energy producers, who have been waiting for certainty before embarking on projects.

A mechanism to support the deployment of renewable energy technology, the tariffs are usually guaranteed over a fixed period and will be used by a still-to-be set up entity that will buy renewable energy.

Two years ago, Nersa set the tariffs, which ranged from R0.90/kWh to R3.94/kWh, seen as generous enough to stimulate the necessary investment. But the review of the tariffs might change the profitability of new renewable energy ventures.

Business Day reported last week that what appears to have upset the industry is the magnitude of the tariff drops and the fact that the review has happened even before any renewable power has been procured.

Nersa has proposed big reductions to the initial tariffs. For example, the regulator wants the feed-in tariff for photovoltaics to fall by as much as 41.3%.