Minister of Energy Dipuo Peters on renewable energy

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INTERVIEWER PROFILE

Alec Hogg is a writer and broadcaster. He founded Moneyweb and is its editor-in-chief.

An excerpt  from an interview with Alec Hogg from Moneyweb
ALEC HOGG: Well the sun usually shines in South Africa – in certain parts yes…
DIPUO PETERS: We want to produce 5,000 megawatts over the next 10 years but we believe that the technology developers need to make it possible for us so that we can produce that in a cost-effective manner. But we’re also saying renewable energy in the IRP should be a catalyst for the new growth path, it should be a catalyst for industrial development in South Africa. We need localisation of the technologies because it wouldn’t help us much to import all the components we would need to produce that 10,000 megawatts of solar power. We’re doing more damage in terms of bringing it in either by ship or air cargo, so we say we need a particular percentage that Minister Rob Davies’ department is still working out the details of, which would have to be manufactured locally. We said now with one million solar water heaters in the country by 2015 – the challenge to solar water heating now is because when Eskom increased their rebate, then the suppliers increased their prices. We’re still engaging with them because we are worried that it is going to work against the objective. I just want to indicate that in September we advertised for REFIT, the Renewable Energy Feed-in-Tariff which would call on developers to produce one megawatt to about five megawatts. I’m told that we have received more than 300 submissions from potential developers which, if put together, can give us about 20,000 megawatts…
ALEC HOGG: Half the size of Eskom.
DIPUO PETERS: Half the size of Eskom, and it takes us to the point that the President is very passionate about – even the Cabinet – about the role of independent power producers because we want to be able to break the so-called monopoly – I know the chairman of Eskom wouldn’t like that – of Eskom over power generation, because if anything, if Eskom is unable to deliver or something happens to Eskom, we’re going to fail. You will remember the challenges that we had in 2008 and also, if there is no competition there is complacency and that is why we’re introducing independent systems and market operator which is going to be the buying office, to ensure that Eskom does not become a generator and a buyer of power from IPPs – a policy has been in place since 2003, and nothing has moved. So we’re putting in legislation – we’ve already ring-fenced the unit in Eskom to be an independent unit buying power from Eskom and all other producers. We’re already getting from different companies the Co-Gen Energy Solutions – the sugar industry is going to come in very handy in that regard. We also believe, as I speak, a team from South Africa – mayors, premiers and MECs as well as different business people went to see co-existing wind farm – co-existing with agricultural development in Vienna which convinces us that you don’t need to have land separately somewhere – you can use available land. We need food security so you can’t say some of the wind stations are in areas where the soil is fertile – so would we lose development agriculturally for wind power generation. We’re actually saying we need to see how this can co-exist. We are very excited about the integrated resource plan. We are also working on what is called the Integrated Energy Plan – and I am happy to see Peter here – what he is doing can have good input into job creation in terms of the integrated energy plan where we speak about bio-fuels, we speak about ethanol and the different ways and methods of producing energy going forward. It’s interesting and exciting times in energy planning in South Africa …
Full Podcast here….

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