South African DOE shares lessons from COP17

Cape Town – The Department of Energy has highlighted some of the lessons it learnt during the climate change conference, COP17, in December.

Department of Energy’s Chief Director of Clean Energy, Mokgadi Modise, who addressed Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Energy on Friday, said the department participated in several energy sector side events and exhibitions at the 17th Conference of the Parties.

These events covered a wide range of themes which included building energy efficiency, the diversification of the energy mix towards a low- carbon economy; nuclear energy and carbon capture and storage.

Among the lessons learnt, she said that there was a “general consensus that access to financial resources is a key factor in scaling up renewables and infrastructure development”.

“This remains central to sustainable access to modern energy services. Proper incentives are needed to stimulate markets and enable investments in the renewable energy and energy efficiency sector.”

She said there was general agreement that governments needed to create stable policies and regulatory frameworks that would encourage investors. For example, governments should be “predictive” and address long term goals, while at the same time “lowering the cost curve through the support of renewable energy entrepreneurs”.

On innovation, the Chief Director said that the SA government and the private sector needed to increase support for research and development.

“[This would] reduce the costs and improve the performance of clean energy technologies and ensure that they are designed to meet the needs of the consumers. With research and development, most clean technologies could be cost effective and easy to implement in developing countries.”

Regarding the implications of climate change on the energy sector, Modise said given the National Response Climate Change White Paper Policy, the department should also increase its focus on assessing the risk of climate change on its activities.

“To this effect, the department should gear itself up for developing carbon mitigation as national mitigation targets for the (energy) sector.”

Modise said this would require rigorous monitoring, reporting and verification systems to be implemented along with carbon mitigation efforts.

In a related matter, Modise indicated to the committee that the revised Energy Efficiency Strategy, set to be in-sync with the Integrated Resources Plan, would be out in May.

Committee chairman Sisa James Njikelana said that they were eagerly waiting for this strategy as it would help them in their discussions with various entities on energy matters.

The Departments of Environmental Affairs and International Relations and Cooperation are expected to submit a detailed report to Cabinet on what unfolded in the COP17 talks. – BuaNews

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