The Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) announced on Wednesday, April 8, that former Eskom executive Tshifhiwa Bernard Magoro had been appointed as the new head of the Independent Power Producers Office (IPPO).
The appointment would be effective from May 1.
Magoro will assume a role that has been performed on an interim basis by Advocate Sandra Coetzee, who took over as acting head of the IPPO in July 2019, following the surprise departure of Karen Breytenbach.
Magoro is currently Eskom System Operator and Eskom Telecommunications GM and assumed a relatively high public profile in recent years when the State-owned utility was forced to resume load-shedding.
Magoro has been a regular participant at briefings hosted by Eskom and Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan during periods of supply disruption, typically providing technical input on the state of the system.
Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha confirmed Magoro’s departure and told Engineering News & Mining Weekly that Gavin Hurford had been appointed to act in the position.
The DBSA said in a statement that the appointment followed a rigorous recruitment process and had been made on the recommendation of an interview panel, which consisted of representatives from the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE), the National Treasury’s Government Technical Advisory Committee and the DBSA.
The appointment comes at a time when the IPPO is gearing up to resume procurement programmes, which stalled in 2015 after Eskom refused to sign power purchase agreements with IPP projects procured through the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP).
The logjam was eventually partially cleared by government only in early 2018, with 27 renewable-energy projects procured during the bid window affected by the Eskom-induced halt, now in construction.
Last month, the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) published consultation papers for two separate Ministerial determinations submitted by Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe for the regulator’s concurrence as required under Section 34 of the Electricity Regulation Act.
Once concurrence is received on the two determinations, the IPPO is expected to oversee procurement programmes on behalf of the DMRE, initially for 2 000 MW of emergency power and later for 11 813 MW from the various technologies outlined in the Integrated Resource Plan 2019.
Magoro is an electrical engineer by profession and has over 20 years' technical, managerial and leadership experience in the electricity supply industry.
DBSA reports that he has held technical positions in planning, operations, project management, energy markets, regulation, compliance management, grid codes, benchmarking activities, as well as grid integration of different generation technologies (gas, coal and renewable energy).
“Following the implementation of the country’s REIPPPP, Magoro led the process that saw the development and enforcement of the first renewable grid code in South Africa.”
Magoro currently serves as a governing board member of the GO15, a group comprised of the 19 largest grid operators in the world. He was recently appointed to the Eskom Transmission Divisional Board, but will be vacating all Eskom-related positions when he leaves on April 30.
Magoro holds the following qualifications: a BSc in Maths, Physics & Statistics from the University of Venda; a BSc in Electrical Engineering from the University of Cape Town; a BCom from Unisa; an MBA from Wits Business School; and an LLB from Unisa.