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Renewable power remains a key focus for South Africa

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South Africa remained committed to expanding the availability of renewable and clean power to enhance the country’s energy mix, cabinet has said at its weekly meeting.

This commitment was meant to ensure the country significantly contributed to the global effort for a low-carbon and climate resilient world, according to the cabinet on Thursday, 28 February 2019.

The executive said it would ensure a responsible and just transition to a cleaner energy future. “Renewable energy and energy storage technologies enable us to convert electrical power into an energy form and store it for later use when needed.

“Energy storage systems reduce the need for back-up capacity from coal or gas-fired electrical generation plants, thereby reducing power sector emissions and help us mitigate climate change,” the cabinet said.

Renewable power from independent producers currently accounts for 3.8 GW, or less than 5% of the energy sold to consumers.

“Energy is a key enabler in South Africa’s trajectory towards socio-economic growth and development. The National Development Plan states that South Africa needs at least 20,000 megawatts of renewable energy by 2030,” cabinet said.

Within eight years, the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPP) has attracted US$15 billion in committed private sector investment, resulting in much-needed alleviation of fiscal pressure, and creating 38,701 job years for youth and women from their surrounding communities.

With regards to the environment, the REIPPP’s contribution has meant that South Africa’s carbon emission is reduced by about 33.2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide and water savings of 39.2 million kilolitres achieved by 31 December 2018.

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