SAPVIA (the South African Photovoltaic Industry Association) would like to congratulate Minister Gwede Mantashe and his Deputy Bavelile Hlongwa on their appointments in the combined portfolio of Mineral Resources and Energy. The appointments come at a crucial time in the energy space with growing calls from citizens for policy certainty and direction that will meet South Africa’s growing energy demands.
The mineral resource and energy sectors have been at the core of our gross domestic product (GDP) contribution for some time. A continued commitment by government to stimulate the growth of renewable energy will therefore provide the competitive edge our country needs to attract foreign direct investment and create jobs.
Procurement of renewable energy in South Africa has also yielded positive results. Well over 62 projects that were installed and successfully commissioned under the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Programme (REIPPPP) have added 3,776 MW of power generation capacity to the national grid with R20,6 billion spent on socio-economic development. The sector also consists of small-scale power generators of 1-10MW that play a significant role in supplementing energy supply from the national grid by providing mini-grid services both in metropolitan and rural communities where power distribution is a challenge.
If one looks at the Solar PV industry in particular, its clear that the industry continues to play a significant role in creating jobs locally and with the growth potential this industry has it would make sense for government to look towards the industry in addressing growing youth unemployment rates.
On the global front, reliance on coal as a power source continues to diminish as countries that have signed clean energy accords and committed themselves towards reducing carbon dioxide emissions are facing mounting scrutiny. South Africa as one of these countries has an opportunity to cease the moment and respond to the challenge of global warming by placing an even greater reliance on renewables.
The Mineral Resources and Energy Ministry can therefore rest assured that SAPVIA as a leading industry association will continue to facilitate meaningful public private partnerships geared towards helping South Africa attain its sustainable energy growth targets.