South Africa optimistic about energy plan

Jacob-Zuma22`August 2013, Johannesburg – South Africa’s Portfolio Committee Energy says it has received a briefing from the Department of Energy, DoE, on the draft Integrated Energy Planning, IEP, report that is out for public comment.

The purpose and objectives of the IEP are anchored in the National Energy Act, 2008. Integrated energy planning is undertaken to determine the best way to meet current and future energy needs in the most efficient and socially beneficial manner while maintaining control over economic costs, serving national imperatives such as job creation and poverty alleviation, and minimising the adverse impacts of the energy sector on the environment.

The department in its presentation indicated that the document currently was a report, not the actual plan. The IEP planning process will commence in three weeks once consultation with relevant stakeholders has taken place. Ms Nelisiwe Magubane, Director-General of the DoE, said the final plan will be ready in November 2014.

Chairperson of the Committee, Mr Sisa Njikelana, welcomed the report and said it was an important document which will help address the energy needs of the country. Although members of the Committee lauded the department for the report, members still had some uncertainties about the document.

The Committee said the report still had to address some elements within the energy sector. The Committee indicated that the report needed to be comprehensive in terms of providing an overview and economic assumptions for future planning processes. However it was also appreciated that a deeper insight of the evolving character of the IEP was emerging.

A key issue that the report needs to address is the issue elasticity demand in determining energy needs in the future. The Committee noted that the report took into consideration the enabling environment of the legislative sector and how IEP will reciprocate other existing policy plans in terms of achieving the objectives of policies such as the New Growth Path, IPAP and the National Development Plan.

Mr Njikelana welcomed the global linkage the report made but emphasised lessons to be learnt from BRICS partners. Furthermore he said “It is important that when such plans are developed regions and countries that we (South Africa) work with need to be taken into consideration”.

The Committee also called for a development and consideration of a data management system which the department could use instead of relying on outside agencies which creates challenges with the credibility and integrity of such data. The Committee suggested that the department look into the matter as this will assist in modelling and assumptions.

The Committee strongly encouraged all sectors of the society to participate in the final formulation of the plan.

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