Energy experts have exchanged views on how South Africa can explore various avenues of generating energy to supply its citizens with sufficient and affordable power.
At the just concluded 20th National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC) Annual Summit held in Pretoria, the experts attempted to come up with possible solutions to the electricity challenges facing the country, which do not only affect business and the country’s economy, but people on the ground.
Energy and Climate Director at Binder Dijker, Shaun Nel, was part of the expert panel of discussion on international experiences of energy delivery summit.
Nel said there will always be an increasing demand for electricity, adding that South Africa, looking at its current situation, needs to work out how to create economic opportunities in the energy sector, how to mitigate costs, and also look at the environmental impact.
Other experts on the panel opined that it was important to explore other forms of energy other than electricity, such as gas, nuclear energy, solar power and so forth.
They urged stakeholders to use the country’s own products by its own citizens to boost the economy and open doors to job creation.
Closing the summit, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa said the summit had been fruitful and it was one of the better Nedlac summits he had ever attended.
The summit touched on issues that are aligned to the Nine-Point Plan which President Jacob Zuma introduced this year, and resolving the energy challenge is at the top of the list.
“It is wonderful that we were able to address this issue, not only on how we can deal with this challenge but looking into the future,” the Deputy President said.
He was glad that the issue of energy costs was discussed but said there was a need to broaden it.
“The issue of mixed energy sources is a wonderful debate. We have possibly seven sources of energy in our country: we have got coal, wind, sun for solar energy, hydro, gas, nuclear, and liquids.
“We need to accept that we have different sources of energy and we are going to see how these energy sources will be divided to deliver energy to citizens,” he said.
The Deputy President said at the end it should be about the affordability, especially to the poor, and also the affordability to drive and fuel the South African economy.