South Africa must forge its own path towards becoming a low carbon emissions economy, public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan said.
The minister was speaking during a panel discussion at the Presidential Climate Commission’s (PCC’s) national colloquium on South Africa’s long-term electricity planning and the “just energy transition” (JET).
“There’s a new global reality arising from the war in Europe and they’re quite comfortable making all sorts of zigzags in terms of their planning and the just transition as well, but they want to dictate how we should do things and meet their requirements.
“The reality is that war has changed the energy scenario. It has changed the pathways… We have to take that reality into account as we map out the JET pathway in South Africa,” Gordhan said on Friday.
He emphasised that as the country begins its transition, energy security must also come into sharp focus in both the short- and long-term.
“We need to, at all stages, continue to keep in mind how we are going to meet the energy requirements for both our citizens and small and big businesses. We need to take into account the current Eskom reality that it cannot … seem to consistently produce more than 23 000MW, whereas the demand is closer to 30 000MW and beyond almost every single day during peak hours.
“IRP19 (Integrated Resource Plan 2019) needs to be modified so that we take into account these new realities. Perhaps the most urgent thing is how … we get the quickest input of new megawatts into our system. Without 4 000 to 6 000 more megawatts availability of new energy, as urgently as possible, we’re not going to cope with the immediate requirements.”
Turning to funding of the worldwide energy transition, Gordhan said developed nations have a responsibility to assist developing countries like South Africa to transition. “Who is going to finance all of this? Where is the money going to come from?
“South Africa might have additional capacity [over] many developing countries but it does not have the capacity to fund all the changes that need to take place in relation to climate change. What responsibility is the developed world taking for funding climate change adaption programmes?” Gordhan asked.