SA pledges to meet green energy targets

2011-03-29 15:38
Johannesburg - South Africa will accelerate its renewable energy programme to meet a target of producing 10 000 gigawatt hours by 2013, an energy official said on Tuesday.

South Africa is struggling to meet fast-rising demand for power. State-owned utility Eskom has said supply would remain tight until 2015, and especially over the next two years.

"The uptake of renewable energy has been very slow and we should confirm that... currently we are sitting below 1% in terms of renewable energy introduction in terms of the market," Xolile Mabusela, director of energy efficiency and environment in the department of energy, told an African power conference.

"But at the same time the government is confident. One of the things that is currently being done is the review of the white paper and feed-in-tariffs by (the regulator) to ensure that the targets are achieved," he said.

South Africa is increasingly looking towards renewable energy to help plug its chronic power shortage and decrease reliance on coal-fired power stations, which provide most of the country's electricity.

Private producers and industry have long said they could supply thousands of much-needed megawatts, but have been blocked by a lack of power purchase deals.

South Africa cut proposed subsidies for renewable energy after it revised estimates for debt and inflation, a move likely to hurt green energy investment.

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