The South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) on Thursday appealed to President Cyril Ramaphosa, as well as to the Finance, Energy and Public Enterprises Ministers to ensure the setting of a firm date for concluding power purchase agreements (PPAs) for duly procured renewable energy, by no later than March 31, when key legal documents will expire.
Following the tabling of the 2018 Budget on Wednesday, SAWEA CEO Brenda Martin said the association welcomed Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba’s acknowledgement of Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown’s instruction to Eskom to conclude all PPAs with independent power producers.
“The industry continues to anticipate Eskom’s cooperation on all related requirements for the conclusion of PPAs, which will allow the country’s renewables programme to get back on track,” she said, adding that certainty was also required around the future scale of the South African renewables programme so that the full value chain benefits of clean power supply - investment growth, manufacturing sector recovery and development, further job creation and rural socioeconomic benefits - could be realised.
Environmental organisation Greenpeace Africa, however, said the Budget failed the people of South Africa, with the organisation's political adviser Happy Khambule stating that the budget was entrenching the current minerals-energy complex, when it should have sought to address energy poverty.
“It is painfully obvious that [this] problem is not being prioritised. Just like in [President] Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address, energy was not addressed directly in Minister Gigaba’s speech, despite current electricity investments in coal and nuclear having massive implications for the country’s economy. Instead, a ontroversial one percentage point increase in value-added tax was announced, which will impact on the poorest in this country the most.”
Greenpeace further said government was not serious about addressing water scarcity, climate change and a turnaround strategy for Eskom.
It further pointed out that the carbon tax, to be implemented in 2019, was heavily delayed. “There are serious questions about whether it will be strong enough to make sure polluters pay or that carbon emissions are reduced at all,” Khambule argued.
Greenpeace Africa believes renewable energy has huge potential to save water, drive inclusive economic growth and job creation. “Yet, once again, this has not been recognised. If the government is serious about addressing the triple challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment, the barriers to renewable energy must be removed.”