Government has re-affirmed its commitment to renewable energy as part of the country’s energy mix while avoiding any mention of its plans for nuclear energy.

In is keynote address at Africa Utility Week, Energy minister Jeff Radebe assured delegates that the long-awaited Integrated Resource Plan should be finalised in August later this year.

Radebe also re-affirmed South Africa’s commitment to partnerships with independent power producers as he hailed government’s “very successful independent power producers procurement programme”.

“To date we have concluded 91 projects with a capacity of 63 000 megawatts (MW),” he says. “Of this 62 of these projects have the combined capacity of 3800 MW which already is connected to the grid.”

He adds that the country has seen a “significant decline in tariffs of about 55% for wind and 76% for solar”.

Radebe states that about R136-billion has been invested in the South African economy with another R56-billion to be invested over the next three to five years when construction of 27 renewable power projects signed in April, will commence.

He says 39 000 jobs have been created for South Africans with these projects, while there has been as estimated 23-million tons of carbon dioxide reduction and substantial savings of water.

No outright mention was made of South Africa’s nuclear energy plans.

European Union Ambassador to South Africa, Marcus Cornaro, welcomes South Africa’s recommitment to the renewable energy sector specifically the 27 renewable energy projects, saying it will help to reinforce investor confidence in the sector.

“The EU sees itself in a threefold role as a development partner, as a foreign direct investor and partner in research an innovation in Africa and specifically South Africa,” he adds. “The EU remains a prominent investor in the energy sector.”