Renewable energy expanding
SOUTH Africa’s renewable energy programme brought an investment of R193 billion into the country between 2011 and 2015, according to Energy Minister Jeff Radebe.
This was from 92 wind and solar projects, selected by the Department of Energy from private sector bidders, which amounted to a total of
6 328 MW of electricity.
Radebe, who was scheduled to address the Windaba wind energy conference in Cape Town yesterday, was unable to attend. The Department of Energy’s director-general, Thabane Zulu, delivered his speech.
Referring to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s investment target of $100 billion, Radebe said he believed the energy sector could deliver $25 billion of the $100 billion.
The renewable energy sector would also help reduce South Africa’s high greenhouse gas emissions, as was required by the country’s commitment to the Paris Agreement.
The agreement envisages complete decarbonisation after 2050.
Radebe said this goal of zero greenhouse gas emissions entailed a far-reaching commitment across economic sectors.
This implied a switch to the highest possible penetration of renewable energy and other cleaner technologies as soon as possible.
The energy sector was uniquely positioned to drive South Africa’s transition to a low-carbon economy, he said.
“Energy is inextricably linked to climate change. South Africa as a developing country has relatively high greenhouse gas emission when measured per capita.”
Radebe said it was therefore “critical” that there was diversification of the country’s energy portfolio.
The price of wind power was extremely attractive and made it very competitive.
“While there is an upward pressure on the electricity tariff, we have to ensure that we introduce generation options that will effectively lower the cost of electricity,” Radebe said. — Fin24.