PARLIAMENT, February 20 (ANA) - Mineral resources and energy minister Gwede Mantashe on Thursday said there was no deliberate delay on his part in bringing more renewable power to the grid to solve South Africa's energy crisis, but simultaneously declined to commit to timelines on signing up additional capacity.
"One of the things you like is time frames so that you can say you didn't do it," he told journalists at a wide-ranging briefing in Cape Town.
Mantashe responded to pressure to expedite Window 5 of the government's bidding programme to procure more renewable energy from independent power producers by saying there was a misconception that this alone could solve state utility Eskom's crippling capacity shortages.
"It is a misnomer to think that Window 5 will avoid load-shedding," he said of the rotational black-outs that resumed on Thursday morning, after a three-day respite.
Mantashe noted that Window 4 would yield 2 200 megawatts of renewable power and said there were further misconceptions, including that Window 5 could "overtake" the earlier bid window, and secondly that it would take nothing more than his signature to precipitously launch the next window and see IPPs immediately channel more energy into the grid.
He joked that whoever had additional renewable energy at the ready, without needing to build infrastructure first, must have been talking to everybody except his department.
"There is this thing that there is a lot of renewable energy around. Where is it?" said Mantashe.
"Why are these people with a lot of energy talking to journalists and not coming to us? I hear of it from everybody except the department of energy. That is a red herring. There is no energy offered, so there is no delay."
- African News Agency (ANA), Editing by Stella Mapenzauswa