Is our new energy policy good enough?
Cabinet has just endorsed a flagship Energy Ministry project. The Solar Park project is to be located in Upington, Northern Cape, and the envisaged energy hub is being modelled along the lines of an industrial development zone without a harbour. The estimated costs are in the region of R150 billion. When completed and within ten years, the Solar Park, which may well be a public-private partnership, will provide 5 gigawatts (5 000 megawatts) of solar power to the national grid. Conceived as a high technology electricity generation project, the Solar Park project will provide long-term employment opportunities to many citizens of the Northern Cape. It will also pave the way for further partnerships that will form part of the Department of Energy’s Integrated Resource Plan 2010 and its Integrated Energy Programme.
As the new energy policy direction begins to find traction, it is the role of civil society, political and business organisations to raise the level of information and comprehension about this key delivery area. The starting point is that the future of energy supply concerns all of South Africa’s people. The Helen Suzman Foundation is one such organisation that is strategically positioned to bridge the gap between political decision makers and the wider community. On September 28, the Foundation will be holding a Roundtable discussion and hosting Minister Peters, Clinton Foundation Climate Change Initiative chief Ira Magaziner, Business Leadership SA chair, Bobby Godsell and Independent energy analyst Hilton Trollip at a Roundtable in Johannesburg. The Roundtable will be attended by a wide range of stakeholders in the energy industry and is open to the public. This event underscores the Foundation’s belief that it is crucial for channels of information concerning South Africa’s energy planning and development, to be created and sustained in the interests of the well being of all who live in this country, as well as in the region.