Cape Town – Energy Minister Dipuo Peters reckons that the government is going to hit its targets both for supplying a million solar water heaters, and of getting 10 000 gigawatts of electricity from renewable sources by 2013.
Giving written replies to questions from Sejamotopo Motau of the Democratic Alliance and Peter Smith of the Inkatha Freedom Party, Peters said that although Eskom has installed only about 1 500 systems government is already installing about 7 400 in Winterveldt.
"The programme has been extended beyond Eskom in the past few months with the introduction of a government-led initiative," she explained. She added that the funding framework was only confirmed last month when energy regulator Nersa determined the multi-year payment scheme.
She went on to say that suppliers installing solar water heater systems will have had their systems tested to the SANS national standard. This includes a thermal test on the systems.
"The national standard has a minimum energy rating but not a maximum," she said. "Therefore there will be systems that are not as efficient in heating water as others, but they passed the minimum standard to heat water for their size according to the national standard.
"A larger concern would be that there is no maximum limit placed on the systems, which results in systems being oversized, with the potential to heat water to a high temperature that could be dangerous to end consumers."
Increased uptake of renewable energy projects
"In 2009/10, few projects were commissioned," said Peters, "namely Bethlehem Hydro Project and the eThekwini landfill gas to electricity projects which added 10MW to the system but the total contribution to the 2013 target remains below 10%."
However, she insisted that plans are now in place to bring this to the target total by 2013.
These include the fact that new generation capacity regulations promulgated in 2009 will enable the procurement of power from independent power producers including those using renewable energy sources.
These regulations define the institutional arrangement within which this procurement must be controlled, and are expected to expedite the procurement process of independent power producers as well as ensure that all future electricity plans are
streamlined to correspond with the country's position on primary energy mix in general.
She also anticipated that, through the Renewable Energy Feed-in Tariffs (Phase 1 & 2) there will be an increased uptake of the renewable energy projects.
"The department also made provision for RE contribution to the energy mix for 2013 period through the integrated resource plan 1 wherein the funding associated with this plan was also approved by the National Energy Regulator of SA," she said.
"Lastly, the department is in the process of establishing an Independent System and Market Operator which will be responsible for buying power produced by independent power producers including RE generators qualifying under the REFIT procurement programme."
- I-Net Bridge