In 2013, Boyan Slat began to question the large volumes of plastic accumulating in our oceans and why no one was doing anything to clean it up. At 16 years old, he began research into potential solutions to effectively recover and remove it

REIPPP: Green energy success story for SA?

Are there any green energy success stories in South Africa?

We have probably one of the biggest success stories in the world, and that is our Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Programme (REIPPP). The REIPPP has made us the darlings of the renewable energy world, because in a very short period (admittedly off a very low base) we have gone to 400MW in the first three or four rounds which is significant.

The last round, where big utility companies have to come in and put in their lowest bid per kilowatt hour (kWh) at which they would sell their electricity to Eskom, there were wind farms selling their electricity at 70c per kWh. Now our average electricity rate at the moment in South Africa is around 83c per kWh. So anyone who says there is no grid parity in renewable energy versus fossil fuel energy is actually misinformed. What’s happening right now is it’s becoming cheaper.

In Germany, coal-fired power stations are being de-commissioned because they can’t compete with the cost of renewable energy – the price has become too low. There was actually one Sunday afternoon, well-documented in Germany, where the price of electricity went below zero! South Africa already has significantly more renewable energy resources – solar radiation and wind resources in particular – than Germany could ever have. If we had the policy certainty that business is certainly asking for, South Africa could achieve so much more in terms of green energy.

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