Committee Report on Workshop on Renewable Energy Policies for Sustainable African Development in Ghana

Energy

27 February 2012
Chairperson: Mr S Njikelana (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee briefly discussed the report on the workshop on renewable energy policies for Sustainable African Development. Mr E Lucas (IFP) and Ms Tinto were the delegates that attended the workshop in Ghana, and as such were asked to talk to the report and also check the accuracy of the document. Mr Lucas compared South Africa to Ghana as it was also experiencing an electricity crisis and applauded the development in renewable energy sources amidst the power cuts and outages. The delegates had visited a massive solar park/ farm and were impressed by what they had seen.
Ms Tinto said that the report was in order and highlighted that the issue of access to electricity and the high cost of renewable energy remained a problem in Ghana. She further proposed that the report be adopted as all was in order.

Members approved the report and agreed to look at and research on other areas where there were hybrids of energy using solar, bio-mass, wind energy etc. The South African National Energy Development Institute as a researching institute ought to look into areas of alternative energy source. Ghana was said to be an interesting example in this regard. The labelling of appliances is also and important issue and the Committee should invite the South African Bureau of Standards on the quality and the standards of the appliances.

Meeting report

Opening Remarks
The Chairperson welcomed all Members and included a special mention to Ms B Tinto who was returning after a leave of absence. The Chairperson noted that Eskom was supposed to brief the Committee about the pending power interruptions and what plans it had to address the issue. Eskom was unable to brief that Committee at this juncture as it was triple booked by the Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprise and also the Select Committee on Trade and International Relations. Those very committees were also unable to join the Committee which was the original plan. The Committee would still negotiate further for such a gathering because it was of paramount importance.

The Chairperson sought confirmation on whether the Lesotho and Mozambique reports on Renewable Energy Sources had been adopted.

The Chairperson received confirmation that this was the case and indicated that the Committee would proceed with its agenda.

Report on the World Future Workshop on Renewable Energy Policies for Sustainable African Development, in Oboadaka, Ghana
The Chairperson tabled the report for consideration. Mr E Lucas (IFP) and Ms Tinto were the delegates that attended the workshop in Ghana, and as such were asked to talk to the report and also check the accuracy of the report before the Committee adopted it.

Mr Lucas compared South Africa to Ghana as it was also experiencing an electricity crisis and applauded the development in renewable energy sources amidst the power cuts and outages. The delegates had visited a massive solar park/ farm. Everyone was impressed by this as it was unknown that solar power could produce so much electricity. The biggest draw back was that solar power generation was expensive due to the batteries used to store the electricity. It was a success but storage of that electricity was not enough as the batteries could not store all the electricity that was generated. The Ghana vs USA match was one of the games the delegates watched on a television set powered by solar energy. The solar power gave in and a diesel engine generated electricity had to be used which was typical of South Africa experiencing load-shedding. Thus that power cut spoke on the issue of lack of capacity and life span of the batteries as electricity could not be stored effectively. The report was a well-rounded document.

Ms Tinto said that the report was in order. The issue of access to electricity and the high cost of renewable energy remained a problem. It was a miracle that Ghana had such a good project and proposed that the report be adopted as all was in order.

Mr L Greyling (ID) commented about his experience in Ghana some few years ago. According to his recollection, the area that the Members had visited was powered fully by solar power and did not require any other energy source as back-up. Even though storage was a problem, it was not a huge one as many parts in Ghana used solar energy successfully with no other alternatives.

The Chairperson thanked Members for their inputs and reminded them about the planned visit to Elucingweni in Mthatha. The previous visit was an eye opener on what not to do and thus Members should look at alternative energy sources and research other areas where there were hybrids using solar, bio-mass, wind energy etc. The South African National Energy Development Institute (SANEDI) as a researching institute ought to research such areas of energy sources which would also assist the Committee with identifying places which use all the different types of electricity energy generation. Ghana was said to be an interesting example in this regard. As a developing country demand would always outweigh supply and thus the county should follow examples in other countries like Ghana.

The report was adopted it was suggested that the report should be shared with SANEDI, perhaps it could engage on some of the issues. The labelling of appliances was also an important issue and the Committee should invite the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) to present on the quality and the standards of electrical appliances.

Outstanding Minutes
Committee Minutes dated 22 November 2011
The Chairperson tabled the minutes for consideration.

The minutes were adopted with no changes.

Committee Minutes dated 25 January 2012
The Chairperson tabled the minutes for consideration.

Members pointed and corrected minor grammatical errors in the minutes.

Mr S Radebe (ANC) wanted to know if the Committee had any recommendations as per the minutes.

Mr Moloto clarified that the meeting was an information sharing one and because the report of the Presidential Review Commission had not completed its work Committee could not have had any recommendations

The minutes were approved with amendments.

Committee Minutes dated 1 February 2012
The Chairperson moved on to the minutes of the past meetings on the 22 November 2011.

Members made minor amendments and the minutes were approved.

Mr Lucas said that it was important to remember that the electricity regulator was independent to Eskom and other bodies and not seem to be in cahoots with Eskom.
The Chairperson thanked the Members once again for their time and input and reminded them about the meeting on Friday.
The meeting was adjourned.


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