First Industry Working Group hosted for South African Renewable Energy Masterplan
  Sep 10, 2020     News, South Africa, renewable, REIPPP, research, Renewable Energy, SAREM, DMRE, dtic, energy, IPP

The first industry working group meeting, towards the development of the South African Renewable Energy Masterplan (SAREM), was hosted online on 26 August 2020.

The main purpose of this first collective meeting was to inform stakeholders on how to be part of the consultation process, to highlight the various opportunities to engage, and to collate input to the SAREM vision.

SAREM is one of 14 industry specific masterplans in progress since July 2019. The national masterplan process falls under the reimagined Industrial Strategy of the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic). It builds on the approach taken by the automotive sector, as well as the sector plan process developed between private- and public sectors, led by the Public Private Growth Initiative (PPGI) in conjunction with the Presidency.

“The masterplan development approach is a collaboration between industry, labour, civil society and government to develop an industrialisation implementation plan for the sector. This includes setting out a vision for an industry in South Africa, identifying blockages and constraints, and proposing a set of key actions that need to be taken forward over the short and medium term,” said Gerhard Fourie, Chief Director, Green Industries, the dtic. “The masterplans essentially facilitate a process whereby industry commits to a certain amount of investment and creating a certain number of jobs against an industry masterplan. Government, for its part, undertakes to understand and remove impediments to these plans,” he added.

Key stakeholders who have been involved in articulating the need and opportunity for a renewable energy masterplan include various government departments and entities, civil society, labour, industry experts and academics who have offered their time, research, and insights to help lay the foundation for developing such a masterplan. These stakeholders have emphasised the scale of the opportunity that renewable energy represents in South Africa, as well as the urgency of the need, given load-shedding. These stakeholders have highlighted the need for inclusivity, sector transformation and certainty in supporting new and emerging industries.

Oversight of the development of the plan is chaired by the relevant minister in an Executive Oversight Committee, which is yet to be convened for SAREM.

The Integrated Resource Plan (currently IRP 2019) outlines the expected energy capacity needed in South Africa. SAREM represents an opportunity to identify jobs and investment in the renewable energy sector linked to the IRP, as well as to articulate how job creation and investment might be optimised and maximised if various impediments were removed, or new supportive policy was designed.

“SAREM is an action oriented implementation plan which is stakeholder centred and vision driven,” said Noma Qase, Director: Renewable Energy Initiatives at the Department of Minerals Resources and Energy (DMRE). She emphasised that the development of this masterplan provides an opportunity for private sector, government, labour and other social partners to co-create and enable catalytic growth in the economy through renewable energy. Quoting Dr Lauren Basson from GreenCape, she concluded that an industrialisation plan looks at the size of the renewable energy market and then maps out what the industrialisation opportunities are, and what the associated benefits would be.

“It should be clear that SAREM does not replace the IRP. The IRP is a planning process by the DMRE and as such should be taken as the peg in the ground for what drives implementation in the immediate horizon. SAREM is not a policy document, it is an action plan that can look for ways to make the most of industrialisation opportunities through the IRP and beyond,” added Fourie.

The SAREM industry working group accommodates a spectrum of stakeholders who represent various sector stakeholder groups. This group will be consulted at scheduled intervals in order to inform them of the process, research findings and planned elements, and to provide them with an opportunity to give feedback. This group invites officials from relevant departments, state-owned enterprises, organisations, unions and associations to participate.

The outcome of the first industry working group included input into the SAREM vision. Key themes that emerged included the importance of securing inclusive economic growth through investment into sustainable energy infrastructure, for all South Africans.

“The industry working group is one of the various mechanisms for stakeholder engagement for the development of this masterplan focusing in the renewable sector,” said Heather Sonn, Director, GreenCape. “We are committed to facilitate inputs from role-players to present an inclusive plan to the Minister at the end of the collaborative process.”

All Renewable Energy sector stakeholders who want to be kept informed of the SAREM development process and industry working group meetings are invited to sign up to the database.