South Africa Welcomes New Energy Minister, Renewable Sector Optimistic

Renewable Energy Industry Supports Ramokgopa’s Appointment, Sees Growth Ahead

by Adenike Adeodun

South Africa’s solar PV and wind industry associations have welcomed the appointment of Kgosientsho Ramokgopa as Minister for Electricity and Energy. This move signals a step forward in the country’s renewable energy sector.

Dr. Rethabile Melamu, CEO of the Solar PV Industry Association (SAPVIA), praised the new minister. “We have already established a good relationship with Ramokgopa’s office and congratulate him on the appointment,” said Melamu. He noted that the minister appreciates solar PV’s contribution to South Africa’s electricity supply.

SAPVIA is eager to work alongside the new ministry to tap into the country’s abundant solar resources. Melamu highlighted that this collaboration could unlock job opportunities and other benefits within the solar PV value chain.

Niveshen Govender, CEO of the South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA), also expressed support for the new appointment. Govender commended President Cyril Ramaphosa for his dedication to a smooth energy transition. He noted the importance of separating Mineral Resources and Energy into distinct ministries, allowing a special focus on electricity.

Govender stated, “Through forming this new Ministry of Electricity and Energy, led by Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa and Deputy Minister Samantha Graham, we are confident that energy security will be the central focus of unified efforts.” SAWEA believes Ramokgopa’s role in stabilizing the power supply has shown positive results so far in 2024.

South Africa has experienced the longest period of energy stability since 2021. Eskom last imposed load shedding on March 26, 2024. The Energy Availability Factor reached 65.5% in April, marking significant progress.

Despite this optimism, challenges remain. The REIPPPP Bid Window 7 deadline is approaching, and grid capacity in wind-rich areas is dwindling. SAWEA emphasized the need for the new ministry to address sector challenges such as grid constraints, regulatory uncertainty, and local manufacturing limitations.

Govender stated, “Accelerating the integration of wind energy into the country’s energy mix is critical. This requires policy and strategic intervention to ensure an affordable, stable, and reliable electricity supply.”

The new Ministry of Electricity and Energy should focus on maintaining and expanding the country’s electricity infrastructure. Inter-departmental energy policy alignment and grid stabilization are also crucial. SAWEA will continue promoting renewable energy, particularly wind power, and working with the government to create an attractive investment destination for the wind sector.

Govender concluded, “We aim to contribute to the national grid and address energy security challenges.”

The renewable energy sector in South Africa remains optimistic about future developments under the new ministry. Industry stakeholders believe that with the right policies and strategic direction, the country can achieve significant advancements in energy security and renewable energy integration.

Source: ESI Africa

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