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Commentary: Anti-renewables lobby should ‘stick to the facts’

Lobbyists opposed to government’s plans on achieving energy security have used yesterday’s appearance by Deputy President David Mabuza in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) to muddy the waters around the success that the Renewable Energy (RE) sector has already delivered.

The concern has been expressed by solar industry representative body the South African Photovoltaic Industry Association (SAPVIA). It follows the Deputy President’s response to questions in the NCOP on Tuesday afternoon.

“We believe that anti-renewable lobbyists have tried to take the Deputy President’s comments out of context. Mabuza – who chairs the Eskom Task Team – told MPs that the country’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) will be accelerated and Bid Window 5 is indeed making progress. These are all initiatives of the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) that will achieve energy security,” says Niveshen Govender, Chief Operating Officer for SAPVIA.

His organisation, Govender says, believes that it is critical for the debate around renewables to state the true facts and to counter misinformation around renewable energy in South Africa.

“It’s also important to point out the renewable energy sector’s economic significance in the South African context,” Govender adds.

The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy’s IPPO quarterly report states that:

  • Almost 6.5GW of renewable energy added to the Grid
  • 112 RE Independent Power Producers (IPPs) created 38701 job years for South African citizens to date
  • On average, 52% of IPP equity is owned by South African, 33% of IPP equity is owned by Black South Africans and 9% of IPP equity is owned by local communities.
  • More than 32700GWh of energy has been generated by renewable energy sources
  • R209.4 billion Investment (equity and debt) into the sector
  • R779 million in socio-economic development contributions to date spent on education, social welfare and healthcare initiatives,
  • R250.3 million in enterprise development contributions to date,
  • 33.2Mton in CO2 carbon emission reductions has been realised
  • 39.2million kilo litres in water savings to date

“We urge the Deputy President to continue his engagements with the renewables sector and not to allow himself to be distracted by comments that are not based on facts. The debate around our energy transition must be carried out in a responsible and objective manner,” says Govender.

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