Amid the crippling power outages gripping the country, industry organisation the South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) is calling on the South African government to lead the development of a comprehensive strategic plan to resolve the energy crisis and prioritise it with the same gravitas and urgency that it tackled the Covid-19 pandemic.
SAWEA believes that, together, all stakeholders have the expertise to devise a coordinated response that will deliver a workable solution to mitigate this crisis that is a precondition to addressing the economic recovery, the organisation emphasises.
“This is not a political agenda. Our country is in crisis and it is time for our leaders to call on the real energy experts to devise strategic solutions to fix this ongoing problem. Let’s get the key stakeholders and experts to formulate the plan in consultation with government, so that power producers can deliver what the country needs,” says SAWEA CEO Niveshen Govender.
Moreover, SAWEA is advocating for an accelerated uptake in new power generation, pushing for trusted technology.
It emphasises that increased power generation from wind and solar photovoltaic are proven generational technologies that can be deployed quickly and cost effectively.
“The reasons for the crisis are in fact broadly known and understood, so it’s time to put a plan in place. Simply put, the country has an energy shortfall of over 4 000 MW, according to the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.
“On the positive side, as South Africans, we are resourceful, as is our industry, so let’s outline the plan so that we can find the best solutions for building and delivering the desperately needed new power generation.
“The wind sector stands ready to support the country by bringing on new generation capacity as quickly as possible – but the red tape must be managed or even removed for the purpose of addressing the energy crisis,” says Govender.
SAWEA points out that, despite President Cyril Ramaphosa speaking to the issue in his State of the Nation address this year, there has yet to be any indication of actual strategic plans or timelines.
Therefore, it says, the country continues to be kept in the dark as to when and how the solutions are to come.
“Increasing the energy availability factor is, in essence, how the crisis can be addressed, which is why the country needs to look to the government to get the experts around the table in the same way that Covid-19 was tackled.
“Without our leaders, we can’t fix this problem. This is an emergency that is not only frustrating the public, crippling businesses and exacerbating job losses, but deepening our economic crisis on a macro level,” notes Govender.