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The recently held SADC Summit featured a roundtable looking at power in Africa, which saw Director General of the Department Of Energy (DoE), Thabane Zulu, calling for further investment into South Africa’s power sector. “Today we are seeing the dawn of a new era in the investment of the renewable energy sector. The Department would like to encourage investors to have line of sight of what will be procured in the future so as to indicate the investments needed for the sector,” he told delegates.

Call for renewed investment into energy sectorReferencing the recently signed REIPP projects, Zulu said this act (the signing) was one of many actions to come geared at creating policy certainty within the energy sector in South Africa and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region as a whole. “It is worth noting that the procurement of these 27 new projects was the biggest IPP procurement by the Department of Energy to date, representing a total of R56-billion of investment and about 2300 MW of generation capacity to be added to the grid over the next 5 years. We are currently in a process to publish the updated Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) to further entrench our clear message that we want to create policy certainty in the energy space. Further to the publishing of the IRP, more work is being done to clearly define how the Electricity Sector should look in the future.”

The theme of the 37th SADC Summit was “partnering with the private sector in developing industry and regional value chains.” This theme is a continuation of the industrialisation trajectory of the last three summits hosted by Zimbabwe in 2014, Botswana in 2015, and Swaziland in 2016.

“South Africa is demonstrating leadership as the [SADC] Chair by encouraging foreign and local direct investment to provide a strong economic growth impetus in support of economic growth through the REIPPP. This investment will certainly have a positive effect and contribute to the much needed jobs in the rural areas where these renewable energy projects are located,” Zulu said.

“With the signing of the agreements we are not only re- confirming government’s commitment to renewable energy, but also to a solid partnership with the private sector in the generation of electricity, which includes among others coal and gas, while pursuing our energy transition objectives for the future. While the private sector investment focus has been electricity generation, further opportunities exist in refurbishment of electricity distribution infrastructure.”

According to Zulu, the DoE will be introducing programmes to encourage private sector investment within electricity distribution. He added that South Africa’s approach to its infrastructure investment programme is to “become an export of product and skills in itself, with an increasing number of countries in Africa and elsewhere in the world adopting and adapting the South African Private-Public Partnership model to suit their particular country conditions”.

Image credit: http://www.energycouncil.com/speaker-category/gas-to-power/

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