The South African Department of Energy has granted preferred bidder status to 19 renewable energy projects, with a total generation capacity of 1.04 GW. The total project cost of the solar, wind and hydro-electric schemes is put at ZAR 28.1 billion (US$ 3.4 billion).

The schemes were awarded under the governments Independent Power Producers (IPP) procurement programme, and are the second group of projects to be given preliminary approval. The Department of Energy said that under this latest 'Window 2' round, it received 79 proposals for power generation projects from the private sector. Of these, 51 met its selection criteria, and it chose 19 to move forward by giving them preferred bidder status.

The approved projects comprise nine solar photovoltaic schemes, totalling 417 MW, with a project cost of ZAR 12.1 billion (US$ 1.46 billion), five wind power schemes totalling 563 MW, with a value of ZAR 10.9 billion (US$ 1.32 billion), two small hydro projects totalling 14.3 MW and worth ZAR 631 million (US$ 77 million) and a single 50 MW concentrated solar power scheme costing ZAR 4.48 billion (US$ 544 million).

The Department of Energy also said that the schemes were expected to create more than 7000 jobs in the construction phase.

Under the previous Window 1 round of proposals, which were announced in December, the Department of Energy granted preferred bidder status to 28 proposals, totalling 1.4 GW of generation capacity. These schemes are expected to reach financial close in June.

There are expected to be as many as five rounds of proposals for projects under the IPP scheme, and the government has set a target of procuring 3.73 GW of capacity.

"It is estimated that by the end of its maximum five-window bid process, the IPP programme will attract project proposals to the value of ZAR 100 billion (US$ 12.1 billion) over its lifetime," said a Department of Energy statement.

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