Delivered on behalf of Chris Huhne, UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate
Speech at SARi Launch – 7 December 2011
I’m delighted to be here tonight. And I want to take this chance to thank our hosts Ministers Peters and Davies for their generosity. I first met the Honourable Minister Peters in London, and our paths have crossed a few times since. It is a great pleasure to meet again – on her home soil, not mine. Let me begin by quoting one of the Minister’s speeches.
In 2009, she noted that ‘the time for renewable energy has arrived’. In 2010, South Africa’s Integrated Resources Plan called for 19 GW of renewable energy to be installed by 2030; that’s 42% of all new capacity. Clearly, this is a country that believes in getting things done.
South Africa’s renewable targets are an unambiguous statement of intent. The challenge now is to match that ambition with the institutional arrangements that can attract private finance.
Setting ambitious objectives will spark investment interest. But investors and manufacturers need certainty to commit capital for the long term. They need to see clear policy goals, supported by carefully targeted funding, backed up with a realistic plan for delivery. That is what will deliver renewable energy at scale.
And that in turn will bring real benefits: not just for energy or climate security, but for communities. Delivering clean energy, clean jobs, and green growth. And as we have just heard, that is what the South African Renewables Initiative is all about.
Using public finance to leverage private capital in support of a common good is both fair and efficient. That philosophy sits at the heart of our own Capital Markets Climate
And that is why the UK is pleased to sign the Declaration of Intent. We believe the Initiative can make a compelling contribution: not just to South Africa’s clean energy ambitions, but more widely, too. Success here will shine a light for other countries to follow.
The UK government commends South Africa on the level of its ambition. We share with you – and with the other international partners here tonight – a common belief: that sustainable energy can be a firm foundation for sustainable growth.
We too face ambitious goals. To hit our EU renewable energy target, we must generate 30% of our electricity from renewables by 2020. That means a fourfold increase in deployment. Amidst global economic uncertainty, we too must find stable sources of finance to deliver new energy investment at scale.
Earlier this year, we announced the Fourth Carbon Budget, setting in law the level of carbon we will emit by 2027. Over the next sixteen years, we are now legally bound to halve our emissions based on 1990 levels. The Carbon Budget sends a clear signal to investors: that the UK is open for sustainable business.
As we look to secure a cleaner, greener future for our citizens, we hope to share our own experiences – and learn from others. We look forward to working in partnership with South Africa in support of our common goals.