Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Mr Gwede Mantashe says South Africa must shape its Just Transition in a manner that is practical and actionable to sustain economic growth and the betterment of human life.
Addressing the Black Business Council Summit in Kempton Park on South Africa’s Energy Security and Sovereignty in the Context of Just Energy Transition, he said
“We must never allow ourselves to be encircled by the developed nations who fund lobbyists to pit our country’s developmental needs against their own selfserving protection of the environment.”
Our country deserves an opportunity to transition at pace and scale determined by its citizens. It is therefore important for us to develop the upstream petroleum industry and ensure that the new discoveries of gas in our country and our neighbouring countries find their way to our power plants for repurposing, he said.
“South Africa’s long-term plan, the National Development Plan (NDP) 2030, defines the country’s desired destination where inequality and unemployment are reduced, and poverty is eliminated for the attainment of a decent standard of living by all South Africans.
The plan predicts that, by 2030, our country will have an energy sector that provides reliable and efficient energy service at competitive rates; that is socially equitable through expanded access to energy at affordable tariffs; and that is environmentally sustainable through reduced emissions and pollution.”
Acccording to Mantashe the best approach is a mix that is inclusive of coal, nuclear, and gas which must play an integral part by providing us with the much-needed baseload energy.
Adding to this, are renewable technologies such as Solar PV, Wind, Hydro, and Battery Storage which present us with an opportunity to diversify the electricity mix by producing distributed generation and provide off-grid electricity, he added.
Today, South Africa’s power system consists of generation options varying from 38 GW installed capacity from coal, 1.8 GW from nuclear, 2.7 GW from pumped storage, 1.7 GW from hydro, 3.8 GW from diesel and about 6.0 GW from renewable energy. Despite this connected capacity, our nation continues to be subjected to electricity supply-demand imbalance which must be resolved as speedily as possible.
He said to address this challenge and guarantee the people of South Africa a stable electricity supply, our government adopted a multi-pronged approach focusing on improving Eskom’s Energy Availability Factor (EAF) whilst speeding up the processes of adding new generation capacity to the grid, including procurement of emergency power, and purchasing electricity from neighbouring countries.