Posts Tagged ‘Renewable Energy’

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Renewable energy proposal shelved by ANC

24 February 2009

The legislative proposal for a feed-in-tariff on renewable energy is an excellent initiative that was brought to parliament by my colleague, Ruth Rabinowitz of the IFP, last year. Although it is in her name, the initiative is supported by myself and Lance Greyling MP of the ID, as well as hundreds of private citizens and business stakeholders. In fact, I have personally corresponded with over 400 businesses and individuals who support this proposal.

Regrettably, the proposal has now been shelved. The private members’ legislative proposals committee gave it tentative support and recommended that an ad-hoc committee be established to further examine our proposal. This never happened, but a debate on the matter was held in parliament last week. The proposal is for the moment dead, but we intend to revive it when the new parliament is established in May.

This legislative proposal was opposed by the Department of Minerals and Energy because it believed that the required legislation for a feed-in-tariff was already in place. As I said in the debate last week, the question then is why has this country made practically no progress on renewable energy in the last decade. It is because the South African government is fixated with large state-driven energy projects which limit choice and have, in effect, contributed to undermining GDP growth. Further, it is because our state energy planners believe that, just because we have 200 years of coal reserves available, we have to use these resources. Not only is this latter view nonsense, it is irresponsible.

The subject of the appropriate role of the state is often debated in parliament, yet this debate has not been sufficiently directed at the role of the state in the energy economy. Naturally there is an important role for the state in conducting integrated energy planning, something which has been severely lacking over the last decade, and which has been a major cause of insufficient generating capacity during several periods over the last three years. However, the state, more particularly Eskom, needs to understand that it cannot be the sole producer of electricity to satisfy the needs of a growing economy – it does not have the skills, nor does it have access to the required capital.

The DA believes that the state’s primary role, besides planning, is to appropriately regulate the energy sector and to provide incentives for an increased number of players in electricity production. Yes, it will be necessary for some time to come that Eskom remains the primary generator of electricity. However, it is the policy of the DA that the natural monopoly of transmission needs to be unbundled from the potentially competitive activity of generation. Eskom’s transmission division must be transformed into a separate state-owned company to ensure that all sector participants receive equal access to the national grid.

And this is where the feed-in-tariff for renewable energy will truly thrive. It will allow a massive increase in micro-generation, increasingly giving individuals, businesses, and rural communities that are currently off-grid, improved energy independence. The feed-in-tariff for renewable energy is a sensible and progressive policy.

Renewable energy must not be treated as an afterthought in energy planning. It must become central to energy planning. The DA believes that a target of 15% of electricity generation from new renewable energy sources is achievable by 2020. Not only will a renewable energy revolution help to mitigate climate change, it will also be a source of new “green” jobs.

A 2008 report from World Watch entitled “Jobs in Renewable Energy Expanding” shows the potential for new job creation. There are, for example, 259 000 jobs in the renewable energy sector in Germany.

South Africa can be one of the top ten producers of renewable energy in the world, and we can create new jobs in the thousands as well.

The feed-in-tariff for renewable energy is the way to stimulate this market. But not only is the existence of the tariff important, but the tariff must be set correctly. NERSA currently has proposals on a feed-in-tariff up for discussion. We must thank them for trying; but regrettably, the tariff proposals are far too low and will not offer the required stimulus.

I believe that parliament must be centrally involved in providing a specific legislative framework for renewable energy and that the state, whether DME, Eskom, or NERSA, should not be left alone to manage these matters. Hence the proposal will be revived at the earliest possible opportunity.

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DA MP joins cross party initiative to introduce feed in tariffs for renewables.

29 October 2008

Renewable energy is much spoken about in South Africa, although there never seems to be any progress. It is frustrating to watch the South African government plan massive investments into coal and nuclear which will lock this country into a particular (mostly uncertain) energy future while there are at the same time numerous other technologies that need a small leg up, but can then flourish on their own.

A couple of MPs from various parties have decided to take a stand on this matter. Dr Ruth Rabinowitz (IFP), myself (DA), Lance Greyling (ID) and Judy Chalmers (ANC) have come up with a private members legislative proposal aimed at introducing Feed In Tariffs for renewable energy production. The proposal has gone forward in the name of Dr Rabinowitz. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Carbon taxes could open the door for greater investment in renewable energy

4 August 2008

The Democratic Alliance last week welcomed the announcement by Cabinet of a policy framework on climate change – most notably the announcement that a new series of carbon taxes will likely be introduced.

“South Africa is one of the most carbon-intensive countries in the world and it is incumbent on this country to reduce its emissions in the future in order to play its role in stabilising the world’s climate,” said DA environmental affairs spokesman Gareth Morgan.

While cautious of the additional costs placed on business by carbon taxes, Morgan said they were essential for the creation of a price for carbon, which was a prerequisite for creating a carbon market. He added that they should be introduced gradually to allow businesses to adjust, and in conjunction with other fiscal measures that would reduce the costs of doing business in South Africa.

Read the rest of this entry ?

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DA praises public private wind energy initiative

3 June 2008

The Democratic alliance last week praised the Darling Wind Farm as an excellent example of how public-private partnerships – a key component of the DA’s vision of an Open Opportunity Society For All – can lead to greater investment in the energy sector.

“The role of the private sector in an Open Opportunity Society is to both complement and support the state through the provision of expertise and funding,” said DA minerals and energy spokeperson Hendrik Schmidt. “The state is then the facilitator of opportunities and not the sole provider.”

He also said that the Darling Wind Farm was the first renewable energy initiative in South Africa to produce electricity from wind and sell it on a commercial basis.

“The City of Cape Town has signed a power purchase agreement for the next twenty years with the Darling Wind Farm.”

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The lighter side – bottled electricity

14 March 2008

We received a powerpoint presentation this week with the following picture as the last slide:

Bottled electricity

How’s that for an energy alternative? 🙂

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It’s time to diversify energy supply – give renewables a chance

30 January 2008

An opinion piece by Gareth Morgan MP – DA Spokesperson on Environmental Affairs

Gareth Morgan MPA wise man once said: “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”. The risk is that if something goes wrong, there will be no back up. Eskom has up to now invested practically all of South Africa’s electricity generating capacity in one basket. There may be reasons for that decision in the past, particularly the availability of cheap coal, but conditions are changing, and there are new opportunities on the horizon.

The solution to securing South Africa’s energy future lies in diversifying the country’s energy generation sources so that we stop depending almost entirely on coal. The key to diversification is renewable energy, which is quickly gaining momentum globally. Japan and Germany are the largest consumers of photovoltaic cells in the world despite their unfavourable geographic locations. In 2005, wind power generated 18.5% of electricity in Denmark. South Africa is still lagging behind these international trends and government has made very little progress in moving away from coal power. Read the rest of this entry ?