South Africa had made little progress in ensuring that its goal of developing 10 000 GWh of renewable-energy capacity by 2013 was achieved, Minerals and Energy Minister Buyelwa Sonjica conceded on Thursday.
Speaking at a Renewable Energy summit, which was organised by the Department of Minerals and Energy (DME) and which took place in Centurion, the Minister said that the country had, to date, only managed to achieve 3% of its target in the five years since the White Paper on Renewable Energy was approved in 2003.
A number of constraints, mainly related to policy and capacity, had prevented government from making further progress, Sonjica lamented.
She acknowledged that the legislative framework and regulatory policies needed to foster renewables were lacking, but added that there were also financing and manufacturing limitations.
South Africa’s low electricity tariffs had also played a major role in restricting investment.
She promised greater intragovernmental coordination to deal with the problems afflicting the nascent industry.
DME DG Advocate Sandile Nogxina insisted that the challenges were not insurmountable, but acknowledged that dedicated programmes to support the industry were needed.
A designated national authority would be created, which would also include a financing subsidiary to assist with investors in overcoming their funding challenges.
Government would in future focus on the implementation of programmes and plans to increase activity in the sector, Nogxina noted.
Sonjica expressed hope that the summit would lead to an indication of realistic targets to be set for the renewable energy sector.