Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson says she will be inviting members of the public to recommend people who can serve on a ‘Ministerial Advisory Council on Energy’, which she proposes to establish soon.
“I have decided that, over and above the Department of Energy expertise, as a Ministry we are going to need input from other experts in the energy sector,” she said at an interaction with business this week.
The proposed panel would “serve as a sounding board on many of the challenges that we confront in the energy sector”.
However, the Minister stressed that the body would not make decisions, which would remain the “preserve of Cabinet”.
“I will be looking for experience and innovation. The panel will include academics, members of civil society, the labour movement and engineering expertise.
“We want to crowd in solutions by tapping into some of the ideas that remain unheard,” Joemat-Pettersson said, stressing that enhanced engagement and coordination would be a central theme of this term of government.
She also promised to play her part in delivering roadmaps for Eskom’s sustainability, for a new nuclear programme and for ensuring that independent power producers play a larger role in South Africa’s electricity-supply mix.
The departments of Energy and Public Enterprises and the National Treasury were due to meet to decide on proposals to strengthen the position of Eskom, which faced a R225-billion revenue shortfall.
The Minister also said the debate on nuclear energy had gone on for a long time and that “decisive actions” would now be taken.
“In the next few weeks, I will outline a comprehensive roadmap that will lead us to a firm decision on the nuclear build programme.
“Key in this roadmap is ensuring that the 29- and 30-year old units at Koeberg nuclear power station continue producing power for another three decades. This will involve some life extending refurbishments at the power plant,” she said at a breakfast organised by The New Age and the South African Broadcasting Corporation.