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Sarem progressing towards implementation

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Sarem is positioned as “an industrial and inclusive development plan for the renewable energy and storage value chains by 2030

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24th August 2023

By: Tasneem Bulbulia

Senior Contributing Editor Online

     

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The South African Renewable Energy Masterplan (Sarem) will hopefully be finalised by October or November, as it is critical that this be done before the end of the year so that implementation can begin.

This was stated by Trade and Industrial Policy Strategies (TIPS) senior economist Gaylor Montmasson-Claire, who is also the facilitator of Sarem, speaking during an 'Unpacking the South African Renewable Energy Masterplan' webinar on August 24.

Sarem is positioned as “an industrial and inclusive development plan for the renewable energy and storage value chains by 2030”.

It had been out for online and written public consultation, with Montmasson-Claire saying the plan was a social compact that must manage various interests and priorities from a diverse range of stakeholders, and be cognisant of the environment in which it would be implemented.

As such, he averred that the draft plan was “ambitious but realistic”, with the interventions proposed needing to be implementable.

He pointed out that the inputs received thus far from government, businesses, civil society, individuals and others had been extremely helpful and constructive in bolstering the plan.

Montmasson-Claire highlighted that an iterative method was undertaken deliberately so that the process could be managed better, and the plan improved intermittently.

He pointed out that the plan would be presented in several provinces over the next few weeks to allow those who were not in the position to respond online or in writing to also consult on it.

These further comments would be taken into consideration accordingly.

Following this, Montmasson-Claire said, it would be critical to finalise the plan and get sign-off and endorsement from key stakeholders so that implementation could begin.

He added that a project management unit needed to be set up in the interim, so that it could be ready and available to implement the plan as soon as it was finalised.

Also, he mentioned that there needed to be an understanding of which renewable energy projects were coming onto the market from both the private and public sectors, so that this could be factored into planning.

Montmasson-Claire highlighted that there was momentum with the plan now that must be capitalised on to ensure that it could be finalised before the end of the year.

He noted that renewable-energy projects were increasing exponentially in South Africa, and while it was good that the country was embracing this, many of the elements were being imported.

Therefore, he said the Sarem aimed to build the local capacity to supply both domestically and for export.

Montmasson-Claire pointed out that international experience, both in the Global North and South, showed that to be successful at this, incentives were critical.

He said the plan was aimed at creating incentive for both brownfield and greenfield investments in green technology, as well as proposing direct incentives for exports around special economic zones.

Montmasson-Claire added that the plan was also expected to harness trade policy where feasible and for government support to be tied to local content.

He cautioned that this must be balanced in a way that ensured local capacity, but did not constrain or block projects in instances where this was limited, until the requisite capacity was built up. 

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

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