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S.Africa’s clean energy future unpacked

On Friday, South Africa’s energy minister, Mmamoloko Kubayi, delivered the short-to-medium future for the country’s clean energy sector where gas has a prominent role to play.

Kubayi explained that the country’s gas programme will be premised on:

  • In the short term, that is between 3-5 years, the importation of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the international market, through Richards Bay in Kwazulu-Natal
  • In the medium term, the development of pipeline infrastructure from Mozambique, given alignment of this approach with our regional development objectives and the possibility of it being a more attractive option than LNG
  • In the long term, that is between 10-15 years, shale gas sourced from the Karoo

“In order to kick-start the gas programme, power generation has been identified as the single biggest demand sector that would also meet the energy diversification objectives of the Integrated Resource Plan,” she said.

Adding that other demand sectors targeted under the gas programme include industrial, residential, transportation and chemicals.

Legislative Amendments to facilitate gas infrastructure

The process of amending the Gas Act of 2004 has commenced, to the stage that this year a draft Gas Amendment Bill will be tabled in Cabinet, the minister said. Read more…

The amendments largely relate to a licensing framework for regasification infrastructure and mandating the Minister of Energy to make determinations regarding the required infrastructure, she added.

Regional Development

“In line with our regional integration strategy, we will negotiate with Mozambique regarding an energy collaboration agreement for the building of a pipeline from the Rovuma Basin into South Africa, among other things,” Kubayi explained.

“This will not only enable us to have access to natural gas from a neighbor, but it will also improve the possibility of a relatively attractive gas pricing formula relative to sourcing gas from the international market,” she added.

Regulations on embedded generation

According to the Minister, numerous municipalities are already approving the installation of rooftop photovoltaic systems that generate power into their local distribution systems.

In order to provide for orderly development, we will promulgate the embedded generation licensing framework this year.

Whilst this will address the proliferation of rooftop solar technology installations, the regulations will also cover other distributed generation technologies with a proposed cap of 10MW per site.

Regulations regarding clean fuels

As you might be aware, we had planned to introduce clean fuel standard by 1st of July 2017, and we have encountered challenges in regard to the funding of this initiative, the Minister said in her speech.

“We will therefore promulgate regulations this month to confirm the deferment of inception date of clean fuels to a later date,” she said. Read more…

Kubayi added: “In this regard a new approach to facilitating the introduction of clean fuels will be outlined, and we believe that this will resolve the uncertainty regarding this initiative and its funding. I must express my appreciation to the patience demonstrated by the Petroleum Industry Association, as we grapple with this tricky programme.

“I assure you that I will work closely with you, not only on clean fuels but in ensuring that our aspiration for transformation in the liquid fuels industry is accelerated beyond the currently shocking levels.”

Ashley Theron
Ashley Theron-Ord is based in Cape Town, South Africa at Clarion Events-Africa. She is the Senior Content Producer across media brands including ESI Africa, Smart Energy International, Power Engineering International and Mining Review Africa.