South Africa’s energy regulator has agreed to investigate power utility Eskom’s refusal to sign power purchase agreements with independent power producers, the South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) said on Thursday.

SAWEA last October asked energy regulator NERSA to investigate Eskom’s unwillingness to finalise agreements which it said had delayed 2,942 megawatts in new solar and wind projects.

“We have had confirmation from NERSA that an expedited investigation into whether Eskom is in contravention of its licence, has now commenced,” said Brenda Martin, chief executive of SAWEA.

Some of the projects have been waiting for financial closure for more than two years and SAWEA estimates they would inject some 58 billion rand ($4.33 billion) of investment into the economy.

“Our primary intention is to achieve financial closure of power purchase agreements. It remains our hope that Eskom will comply with the legal framework for power purchase, so that penalties do not need to be imposed on Eskom,” Martin said.

An Eskom spokesman was not available for immediate comment.

($1 = 13.3800 rand)

(Reporting by Wendell Roelf; editing by Tiisetso Motsoeneng and Jason Neely)