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What if minerals and energy split?

Posted by Laura Grant on February 10, 2009
Posted in Renewable energy

wind-turbinesIn what is potentially great news for the renewable energy industry in South Africa, the department of minerals and energy may be split into two separate ministries this year, according to a Reuters report.

An unbundled energy ministry would have the job of implementing an energy policy for the country that is less tied to the mining industry. At present about 90 percent of South Africa’s energy is produced from coal, of which there is a plentiful supply.  But for the country to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, which it has committed to do, this reliance on dirty fossil fuel has to end and other, cleaner energy sources, such as solar and wind, have to start adding their “green” electrons to the electricity grid.

The department of minerals and energy is perceived to have been dragging its feet on finding alternative sources of energy. Although the government has set a renewable energy target of 10 000GWh by 2013, this target is described as modest and the government is behind schedule in meeting it. What’s more the renewable energy feed-in tariff system (REFIT), which will determine how much alternative energy suppliers are paid for the electricity they generate and thus make the industry economically viable, has apparently been under discussion for more than a decade and has now become a matter of urgency.

According to BR, there is talk that the energy ministry may join with environmental affairs which would make sense given the relationship between energy issues and climate change.

Sources: Business Report, WWF

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