Take part in energy hearings - minister

2010-11-29 18:46

Cape Town - Energy Minister Dipuo Peters has called for the public to take part in hearings into the government's 20-year energy plan.

Peters said in a statement on Monday that the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP2010) public hearings, currently underway in Cape Town, were giving the public opportunity to make submissions on a wide rage of energy topics such as renewable and nuclear energy.

"As we move closer to the deadline of 10 December 2010 for the inputs, I urge all South Africans, private sector, investors, labour and community structures to utilise this space and contribute positively to strengthen this process," Peters said.

The Integrated Resource Plan is a 20-year electricity capacity plan aimed at providing an indication of the country's electricity demand, how the demand will be supplied and what it will cost.

The energy ministry said the plan did not deal with the overall energy needs for the country nor did it "deal with the wider infrastructure plan for the country", but that it was "a key input into those plans".

"It tries to cater for a cone of demand and to be flexible within reason to changes in assumptions on demand and supply," the ministry said.

The hearings started in Durban last week and will end with a two-day session in Midrand on 3 December.

Energy secure future

Sarah Ward of the City of Cape Town's energy and climate change branch said during hearings on Monday that metropolitans such as Cape Town needed plans that provided "an energy secure future" which optimises costs, jobs, and carbon emissions.

The current plan committed the country to substantial investment "in limited supply options" and would constrain energy efficiency.

"This will limit capacity of metros to do their share," she said, adding that an alignment of policies was essential for a stable and secure future.

"Municipalities can play a significant role in generating power within their own distribution networks and so help meet energy demand, but this needs to be facilitated.

"There is a lack of clarity as to whether cities can purchase this power or must sell it to Eskom. Municipalities need to be able to claim the renewable energy feed-in tariff (Refit), she said.

The government's renewable energy programme started more than a year ago with the release of phase one of the Refit by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa).

The purpose of the Refit programme was to kick-start the renewable energy industry and to enable the government to achieve its target of renewable energy generation a year by 2014.

The feed-in tariffs covered wind, biomass, biogas, and solar energy.