It is expected that the energy demand will start ramping up as the country eases the lockdown and additional energy capacity will be required. Therefore, the government should take measures to stimulate demand by moving decisively to electrify the economy. Renewable energy is well positioned to play an important role in the country’s economic recovery post Covid-19, since it is infrastructure investment that government does not have to put capital investment into.
“Our industry views the first step in this recovery plan is to fast-track the ministerial determination concurrence process by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa), which should give effect to the Integrated Resources Plan (IRP) 2019 thus enabling the Department of Mineral Resources & Energy to proceed with the plans to procure new generation capacity” says Sawea CEO, Ntombifuthi Ntuli.
Whilst the wind energy allocation in the 2019 IRP promises to reduce the cost of energy, improve the country’s competitiveness and help deliver the additional power needed to kick-start the economy, the industry is of the view that the procurement of new capacity should be fast tracked in order to deliver energy to the grid by 2022 in line with the IRP 2019 stipulations. We view wind energy as a key building block for economic recovery as it can deliver new electricity infrastructure with private investments, and help South Africa achieve sustainable economic recovery.
Furthermore, the sector has been a source of substantial capital invetments in the South African economy, a total of R80bn has been invested since 2012. Ramping up installed wind capacity by 1.6GW per annum as allocated in the IRP 2019, would create additional annual investments of about R40bn per annum in SA, which will help to deliver jobs, clean and affordable power and energy security needed for a sustainable economic recovery.
“Sawea would like to call on government, intergovernmental bodies, and lending institutions, to put clean energy investments at the centre of their economic recovery and economic stimulus packages by implementing regulations that are fit for purpose, including market designs that provide long term price visibility and streamlined permitting that enables rapid ramp up of the deployment of renewables,” said Ntuli.
This can also be achieved by enabling and promoting end-consumer 100% renewable energy demand in order to allow corporates to ramp up and meet their sustainability objectives; and removal of regulatory barriers where these exist in order to enable private sector to freely purchase renewable energy.