Mantashe to Address Sustainability at African Energy Week 2023.

by Adenike Adeodun

South Africa, the continent’s most industrialised nation, is charting a roadmap to address its energy crisis through regulatory reforms, aiming to spur investments across its energy landscape. Tools such as the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Programme (REIPPP) and the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) are pivotal for the nation’s growth trajectory.

At the forefront of this year’s African Energy Week (AEW) Conference & Exhibition from October 16–20 in Cape Town, Gwede Mantashe, South Africa’s Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, will delve deeper into the nation’s plans for an equitable energy transition.

Mantashe’s keynote will be a highlight, echoing the voices of energy leaders like Namibian President Hage Geingob and Senegalese President Macky Sall on Africa’s energy future. The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE), under Mantashe’s stewardship, has aggressively pursued foreign investments, propelling advancements in energy diversification from offshore exploration to renewable systems.

Significant gas discoveries in 2019 and 2020, notably the Brulpadda and Luiperd findings, have positioned South Africa as a prime destination for hydrocarbon investments. Developments such as TotalEnergies’ green light for exploration in Block 5/6/7, the potential of the Karoo Basin, and the upcoming auctions for shale gas exploration further showcase the nation’s burgeoning gas market.

But South Africa’s vision goes beyond fossil fuels. Recognised as a hub for green hydrogen, the nation is capitalising on renewable energy sources to meet growing demands. The Hydrogen Society Roadmap is accelerating projects across the country, with the DMRE unveiling a R300-billion investment pipeline aiming to produce substantial amounts of green hydrogen by 2050. Projects like the Boegoebaai Green Hydrogen Project and the Hydrogen Valley Project are just the beginning.

The Guardian reported that the green hydrogen initiatives alone can generate up to 3.7 million jobs, boosting the nation’s GDP by $60 billion. The REIPPP and IRP have not only attracted investments but also underscored the importance of a diverse energy mix for South Africa.

NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber (AEC), commends Mantashe’s commitment to energy security. He believes that Mantashe’s persistent efforts to facilitate investment and progress throughout the energy sector will unveil novel avenues for economic growth.

As the AEW 2023 conference sets its sights on eradicating energy poverty, Mantashe’s anticipated keynote will undoubtedly catalyse conversations and collaborations, emphasising a unified and equitable energy transition for Africa before the pivotal COP28 this year.

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