October 5 2015 at 12:27pm
By IOL Reporter
Johannesburg – South Africa has rapidly become a world player in renewable energy, according to a new report from the Department of Energy (DOE).
As a result, SA is well on its way to achieving government’s goal of 30% clean energy by 2025, says the department.
The DOE adds world-class sun and strong coastal wind, combined with sensible policy and government partnerships with business, have led to jobs, foreign investment and clean power which reduces load shedding.
“We’re making intelligent use of our natural advantages,” said Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson, in welcoming delegates to the South African International Renewable Energy Conference 2015 (SAIREC) in Cape Town. The conference kicked off last night and will run until Wednesday.
Recently, an independent study by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) found energy generated from solar and wind during the first six months of 2015 created R4 billion in financial benefits. This was because of the use of solar to avoid the downtime that would otherwise have been experienced, as well as the additional cost of diesel to run generators that would have been spent on keeping the lights on.
Renewable energy has attracted R192.6 billion in investment, of which 28% (R53.2 billion) is much-needed foreign investment. Investment in the sector grew a phenomenal 20 500% from 2011 to 2012.
The booming sector has contributed to more than 109 000 construction jobs and cut the equivalent of 4.4 million tons of carbon dioxide.
In 2014 the United Nations Environment Programme put South Africa in the global top ten for renewable energy investments. It is already the world’s 10th biggest solar market for installations above 5MW.
according to the report, which is set to be released later on Monday, SA has an “eclectic mixture of government policy” which converged with market forces to “deliver an unprecedented world-class programme”. The report, State of Renewable Energy in SA, was supported by GIZ – the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit which specialises in international development. – and the SA German Energy Programme (SAGEN).
“Renewables are delivering exactly what South Africa needs – from energy, jobs and technology to foreign investment, rural development, community benefits and working relations between government and business,” notes Kevin Nassiep, CE of the SA National Energy Development Institute (SANEDI). “The scope and scale of renewable energy development in South Africa demonstrates what is possible when government and business share a commitment to success.”
South Africa committed, in 2009, to cut carbon emissions by 34 percent by 2020 and 42 percent by 2025.
Renewables were catapulted to prominence by the electricity shortages of 2008, which led to the 2010-2030 Integrated Resource Plan targeting 17 800MW of new power generation capacity from renewables.
So far, thanks to the introduction of the 2011dynamic Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme (REIPPPP), DOE has already committed to 6 236 MW of renewable energy generation by 2019.
By mid-2015 more than 6 000MW will be procured from 92 independent producers, with 37 having started commercial operation, adding 1 860MW to the grid.
Prices of renewable energy are falling fast, with the average tariff per kWh dropping 68% since 2011. Prices are now level with the lowest tariffs in global market leader Germany and local communities have a combined shareholding of 10.5 percent in renewable projects.
Over 20 years, communities which host renewable energy projects are expected to receive net income of R29.1 billion or R1.46 billion a year. A total of R19.1 billion has been committed to socio-economic development initiatives in these communities. The total projected value of goods and services to be procured from BBBEE suppliers is more than R101 billion.
The sector is expected to create up to 462 000 jobs, with more than 25 000 jobs already created, the report said.