Statement by Minister Peters (South Africa)

Elizabeth Dipuo Peters, South African Minister of Energy

Speech at SARi Launch – 7 December 2011

Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen. I know that some of the people in the audience may also be celebrating  tonight because they are some of the preferred bidders in the Renewable Energy Procurment. I know that when you have been able to achieve something, especially being pioneers in this sector in the country you do have the right to celebrate. I want to say to you congratulations. But equally to those of you who will be resubmitting, good luck and we believe there will be many, many, many rounds of that nature.

I would like acknowledge the people we have with us tonight, Dame Nicola Brewer, High Commissioner to South Africa standing in for Chris Huhne, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change for the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland,  Erik Solheim, Minister of the Environment and International Development for the Government of Norway, who is on his way, Norbert Röttgen, Federal Minister for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, Government of the Federal Republic of Germany represented by Dr. Horst Freitag, Ambassador Designate to South Africa, Martin Lidegaard, Minister for Climate, Energy and Building, Government of Denmark. Simon Brooks, Vice-President, For the European Investment Bank.

Also my colleagues from the South African Cabinet, Rob Davies, Minister for Trade and Industry,  Government of South Africa, Deputy Minister of Energy Barbara Thompson, Adnan Amin the Director General of IRENA, Ambassadors and  High Commissioners, Diplomats, Director Generals and other officials who are here.  Ladies and Gentelmen good evening.

It is with much pleasure that I welcome you here to this event the signing ceremony for the launch of the South African Renewable Initiative. The launch of SARi is a milestone in our relationship and the history of my country since it is a demonstration of confidence you have in the energy policies of this country, and that are keen to see the deployment of renewable energy as well as the subsequent contribution of renewable energy to climate change mitigation, industrialization and job creation in South Africa.

Ladies and gentlemen, South Africa has a large potential for renewable energy, with over 18GW already included in the current Integrated Resource Plan. One of the key challenges in implementing renewable energy is funding gaps. It is you the international partners playing a critical role to close this gap. It is important that as a collective we develop new instruments that can enhance investment in clean energy sector, particularly renewables. As international partners you are playing an important role to improve the investment climate expand the traditional concessional finance function to include renewables.  I appreciate your boldness in venturing into this project with us.

This Declaration of Intent launch is on the day that we have announced the first bid for the renewable energy procurement porgrammes. This ladies and gentlemen is a demonstration of the commitment of the South African government to renewable energy.  The bid provided for the procurement of 3725 MW across different technologies, across different technologies, inclusive  of 100 MW small programmes.  The bid evaluation process was very transparent and the evaluation team was made up of local and international experts. The total capacity of the bids received was 2127.66MW and 28 bids past. The solar PV bidders were 18, totaling 631.53 MW. Recommended bidders for wind were 8 with capacity of 633.99 MW and the CSP preferred bidders were 2 with 160 MW.

This was our first step and the second round bidding will take place in the first quarter of 2012. Like I said in the beginning, those who want to participate in the second round, I think will not be having Christmas but will be working on their submissions so as to make sure to close the gaps found to be challenging.

As you can see this Declaration of Intent is being signed at the right time. The bidding process has been successfully initiated and is being rolled out and the Integrated Resource Plan is being implemented. An injection of funding is critical to the success of this ambitious renewable energy programme.

I want to repeat what I said this afternoon. We do mean it when we say we are going to be opening the different windows for participation. But we do want bidders and companies that are 100% women.  This country emphasizes the role and participation of women. We want to see women coming on as independent power producers in the renewable energy sector. That would make it possible to realize the objective of the Clean Energy Ministerial which has a key focus group called C3E – Clean Energy, Education and Empowerment for women. So we want women to participate and we want them not to be appendages to a big group or consortium. Come at your own steam.

It is only by working to together, with ambition and in a coordinated way across our own government and with international partners, that we ensure the funding, investment, skills and policies needed to reach our potential to unlock green economic growth and develop renewable energy.

Each partner will have a chance to share their own  perspective on the initiative, its potential and importance and their roles. One important thing to note is that it that this is not a closed partnership. We can always get a longer table, and will welcome other nations, and international finance institutions to join the partnership and support this effort.

As the Declaration of Intent states we are committed to holding further high-level events as we go along, to share results and report on our progress together. So I hope this will be the first of many SARi partnership events, accompanied by concrete results towards our common goals.

We still have a big initiative called the solar park we are working on in the Northern Cape. This is a big initiative to develop 5 GW of solar. By the time it kicks off we hope that SARi will be crystalized, the partners will have increased and we would really be steaming on and making it possible to realize the benefits out of this renewable energy initiative

In the debates on climate change we are not just playing lip service. We do what we commit to do. It is just proper that a day after two years ago when president Zuma had committed South Africa to the long term trajectory of reducing our  carbon emissions,  we should today be announcing the bids but at the same time designing SARi, and later tonight designing with South African industry the Energy Efficiency Initiative. So in this field we say we mean business, and we are going to realize our objectives.