South Africa's solar energy programme (SEP) a game changer

Pretoria - South Africa’s Solar Energy Programme (SEP) will deliver a quarter of the country’s renewable energy by 2030, says Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies.

“We need to appreciate the size and extent of the SEP that we have in South Africa. By far, South Africa has the biggest renewable energy programme in Africa and one of the biggest in the world.

“The SEP should be acknowledged as a game changer in the energy space, and the one that will create opportunities for the communities,” said Minister Davies.

The Minister was speaking to the Northern Cape community of De Aar as part of the “taking the dti to the people” outreach programme.

The event was held in partnership with Emthanjeni Municipality and the Small Enterprise Development Agency.

The Minister said the Northern Cape has emerged as an important area for solar energy.

He added that the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) will be working with the province on a declaration of a Special Economic Zone that will, amongst other things, focus on the roll out of facilities to generate solar energy power stations.

“We are looking to create industries that can produce inputs into solar power facilities which can be located in the Northern Cape and create opportunities for manufacturers,” said Minister Davies.

Karoo Lamb recognised

The Minister said the people of Karoo will benefit from the recognition by the European Union (EU) of Karoo Lamb meat of origin as a Geographic Indicator.

“In the EU, the name Karoo Lamb can now only be used in reference to the lamb that originates in this region of South Africa. This will benefit the producers and the people of the Karoo Region.

“Studies show that products that are recognised as Geographic Indicators (GI’s) if promoted effectively can raise the price that is paid for these products as compared to similar products that are not recognised as GI’s,” he said.

Manager for Local Economic Development at the Pixley ka Seme District Municipality, Sindisile Madyo said renewable energy, biomass for biofuels and biotechnology remain untapped.

Madyo added that although biomass has created 10 000 jobs since 2010, more jobs can be created.