October 7 2015 at 09:16am
Cape Town – “The future of Africa is placed fairly and squarely in the hands of energy. The future of our country and continent is about infrastructure, good governance and low poverty… Today we have come to ensure that energy will not only alleviate poverty, but eradicate poverty completely,” said Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson at the conclusion of the South African International Renewable Energy Conference.
She said governments needed to actively pursue low carbon policies, meet greenhouse gas reduction objectives and mitigate global warming.
“Africa remains one of the most unequal societies on the globe. This conference has assisted us in addressing those inequalities. In these three days, we have looked at the whole renewable energy value chain, focusing on our continent, on interconnectivity, regulatory frameworks which provide policy certainty,” she added.
Delegates have committed themselves to upscale and mainstream renewables to achieve a global energy transition.
While the event came to an end at the CTICC on Tuesday, delegates will on Wednesday visit renewable energy projects in the province.
More than 3 000 delegates, including cabinet ministers, government delegations, representatives from the private sector, NGOs, academia, business, industry and international organisations participated in the conference.
The delegates also resoundingly accepted a declaration to take out of the conference and into COP21 (UN Conference on Climate Change in Paris, starting on November 30).
Global Forum for Sustainable Energy president Irene Giner-Reichl read out the declaration which said that in order to make the global transition to renewable energy happen rapidly, the following elements were crucial: promoting transparent and effective procurement processes; advancing renewable energy globally; promoting skills transfer and development; securing financial resources; conducting research and development; prioritising regulatory frameworks; localising supply chains and local investment; emphasising integrated planning; regionalising trade and energy resource development; conducting programmes for infrastructural development in Africa; embarking on clean energy corridor initiatives and focusing on the African Renewable Energy Initiative; regional co-operation and international co-operation.
All delegates also acknowledged the success of the South African renewable energy initiative. In the space of only five years, the department’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer (IPP) Procurement Programme has contributed 4 294GWh to the national grid. Total payment to IPPs stands at R9.2 billion and the initiative has also saved 4.4 million tons of carbon dioxide.
South African National Energy Development Institute chief executive Kadri Nassiep said the declaration came about after consultation with delegates. “We want to take a positive message forward. In the course of COP21 we will take our place with other countries in an effort to come to an equitable resolution to the problem of not having a global treaty in place,” he said.