The South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) supports the separation of Mineral Resources and Energy into two separate ministries, saying it enables the country to prioritise energy security with a special focus on electricity.

Through a concerted effort in forming this new Ministry of Electricity and Energy, led by Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa and Samantha Graham as Deputy Minister, the Association is confident that South Africa’s energy security will be the central focus of unified collaborative efforts under the National Government of Unity.

The Association says that, over the past 15 months, Ramokgopa has been deliberate and consistent in keeping consumers informed about the government’s comprehensive reforms to achieve energy sovereignty.

“We believe that Minister Ramokgopa’s role in stabilising South Africa’s power supply has yielded positive results in the first half of the year,” it states. “Eskom last imposed rolling power cuts on 26 March 2024, marking the longest period of energy stability in the country since 2021, and reached a significant milestone in curbing load shedding by achieving an Energy Availability Factor (EAF) of 65,5% in April 2024.”

SAWEA adds, however, that industry challenges remain a concern, particularly ahead of the REIPPPP BW7 submission deadline and the dwindling grid capacity in wind rich areas.

“We have high expectations from the newly formed Ministry of Electricity and Energy to work with industry and overcome sector challenges, including grid constraints, regulatory and policy uncertainty, as well as local manufacturing limitations,” says SAWEA CEO Niveshen Govender. “To mitigate these, there is a critical need to accelerate the integration of wind energy as part of the county’s energy mix and requires policy and strategic intervention to ensure an affordable, stable and reliable electricity supply across South Africa.

“The new Ministry should prioritise overseeing the maintenance and expansion of the country’s electricity infrastructure, inter-departmental energy policy alignment, and stabilising the grid. As SAWEA, we will continue to promote renewable energy (wind power in particular), and work with government to create an attractive investment destination with consistency and continuity for the wind sector, contributing to the national grid and addressing energy security challenges.”