On 6 April 2022 – Six months after the announcement of preferred bidders for Bid Window 5 – the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy ("DMRE") issued the request for proposals ("RFP") for Bid Window 6 of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme ("REIPPPP").
Overview of the Bid Window 6 RFP
With Bid Window 5 scheduled to reach financial close by the end of September 2022, the DMRE will soon turn its focus to Bid Window 6 of the REIPPPP. The DMRE intends to procure 2600 MW of renewable energy — 1600 MW will be sourced from wind energy, while 1000 MW must be sourced from solar PV. This is in line with the 2019 Integrated Resources Plan ("IRP"), which sets out South Africa's energy mix.1
Bid Window 6 is expected to add a much-needed boost to South Africa's generating capacity. The DMRE plans to host a virtual bidder's conference within six to eight weeks following the release of the RFP. The exact date of the conference will be communicated on the IPP website. Other key dates for Bid Window 6 include the following:
- the deadline for applications for a Cost Estimate Letter was 11 May 2022;
- the deadline for requests for clarification on the RFP is 30 June 2022;
- the deadline for compulsory Bid Registration, including the payment of the Bid Registration Fee is 14 July 2022;
- the deadline for submission of responses to the RFP is 11 August 2022;
- Preferred Bidders will be announced approximately two months following the Bid Submission Date;
- signing of the PPA and IA ("Commercial Close") is scheduled to take place approximately six months following the announcement of Preferred Bidders;
- a long stop date of one month following Commercial Close has been set for the achievement of Financial Close; and
- the Scheduled Commercial Operation Date is set to take place at a long stop date of 24 months following Commercial Close.
Key Aspects the BW6 RFP Documentation
Significant Increase in Maximum Contracted Capacity
The range of the Contracted Capacity specified in BW6 for both Onshore Wind and Solar Photovoltaic has been increased to between 50MW and 240MW per project, from the range of 1MW to 140MW for Onshore Wind, and 1MW and 75MW for Solar Photovoltaic, which applied during BW5 of the REIPPPP.
BW6 RFP requires projects to provide Ancillary Services. Ancillary Services are services that are necessary for maintaining and managing electricity supply on the national grid, including Instantaneous Reserve (excess generation capacity that can be brought online instantaneously or at extremely short notice to maintain the grid frequency at an acceptable level following incidents such as generator trips or load surges) and Regulating Reserve (generation capacity that can be, instantaneously or within a few seconds, ramped up or down to achieve minimum or maximum levels within a few minutes in order to maintain the frequency as close as possible to the scheduled frequency).2
The Bid Window 5 RFP required the Preferred Bidder to provide an on-demand guarantee in favour of the DMRE and/or establish a Rehabilitation Trust in order to make financial provision for the costs of the decommissioning of the Facility and the rehabilitation and close of the Project Site. However, the Bid Window 6 RFP requires the Preferred Bidder to provide an on-demand guarantee in favour of the DMRE and also to establish a Rehabilitation Trust in respect of decommissioning of the Facility and rehabilitation of the Project Site.3
Economic Development Obligations
Bidders are required to indicate their commitments in respect of the Economic Development ("ED") Elements and Economic Development Sub-Elements.4 Additionally, no points will be awarded for commitments made by Bidders up to and/or at the threshold levels stipulated in the RFP.5 Instead, the Bidder that makes the highest commitment in respect of a specific ED Sub-Element (provided, that such commitment is at or above the target level) will be award full points for the ED Sub-Element in question. Other Bidders will be awarded points proportionately, based on their position between the Highest Bidder and the threshold. Notable thresholds that must be met by Bidders in the Bid Window 6 RFP include:
- each Bidder must have a minimum South African Entity Participation level of at least 49%;
- each Bidder must have a minimum shareholding by Black People in the Project Company of at least 30%; and
- each Bidder must have a minimum shareholding by Local Communities in the Project Company of at least 2.5%.
Price and financing
Bidders are required to provide a Price in respect of Commercial Energy and Ancillary Services. The Price is subject to indexation.6 However, unlike in the Bid Window 5 RFP, Bidders participating in Bid Window 6 are not required to submit both a partial CPI indexation and a full CPI indexation of the Price.
In respect of the financing of the projects, in the Bid Window 5 RFP, where debt was provided to the Bidder by an entity that is not a financial institution (i.e. where the debt is corporate finance), the Bidder was required to provide information in its Bid Response regarding the source of the funds that will be used by the entity to provide corporate finance. The Bidder was also required to demonstrate either average net assets over the past three years of at least 100% of its proposed corporate finance for the project or that it had a proven record in the last five years of raising corporate financing totalling at least 100% of its proposed corporate finance to the project. The Bid Window 6 RFP does not contain this requirement. However, where corporate financing is provided by a parent company or guarantor, the provider of the corporate finance must now provide a letter by an independent financial advisor or auditor (as the case may be) that confirms that there are sufficient funds available to support the investment and that such funds are ring-fenced for the project.7
1 L Omarjee "New Bidding Round Opens for Renewable Energy Projects" (6 April 2022)
2 Clause 8.2.3 of PART A of the RFP.
3 Clause 8.7.2 of Part A of the RFP.
4 Clause 3.9 of Part C of the RFP.
5 Clause 33 of Part C of the RFP.
6 Clause 220.127.116.11.1 of Part B of the RFP.
7 Clause 18.104.22.168.1.2.1 of Part B of the RFP.
Rhulani Matsimbi (Trainee Lawyer, White & Case, Johannesburg) contributed to the development of this publication.
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