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SALGA National Energy Summit calls for energy transition for the benefit of all South Africans


Posted: 08 March 2018

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The SALGA energy summit held at the Sandton Convention Centre, Gauteng under the theme "Defining the Energy Future of Local Government" got off to a great start.

The summit brings together under one roof, industry leaders in the energy sector as well as esteemed leadership from both the National and Provincial Government which include the Honourable Dr Zweli Mkhize, Minister of Cooperative & Traditional Affairs, Gauteng MEC for Infrastructure Development Jacob Mamabolo, SALGA President, Parks Tau together with the SALGA NEC, NCOP Chairperson,  honourable Thandi Modise and  KwaZulu Natal MEC for CoGTA Nomusa Dube.

In his address to an estimated 1200 delegates attending the summit, SALGA President Councillor Parks Tau said the convening of the summit is aimed to examine the current South African energy landscape and define an energy future model for Local Government. He further urged CoGTA and the Department of Energy to work with sector stakeholders to collectively participate in the energy transition for the benefit of all South Africans.

Councillor Tau highlighted on the shift from centralised generation and distribution monopolies to more distributed, user-engaged and digitally integrated energy systems. “This this shift has the potential to radically alter the way in which the energy sector will function in the future – and local government has a significant role to play in this regard” said Tau.

SALGA has noted that the transition in the energy sector is driven by a range of factors that include an increasing demand on networks ranging from a reliability and accessibility perspective to technological advances and an increased emphasis on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. As a matter of fact, the electricity distribution industry is experiencing the delinking of economic growth and electricity demand. Sales of electricity in the municipalities have shown a sustained downward trend over the last years and have, in some instances, dropped significantly. These are dynamics that pose radical implications for local municipalities that are compelled to re-define their role in the electricity value chain and adapt their funding and operating models,

The growth of renewable energy technologies is re-shaping energy systems across the globe, South Africa, which relies on coal-fired power plants for 90% of electricity generation, this trend suggests a critical shift in dynamics, generating numerous risks and opportunities at local level in the value chain

Councillor Tau called on South African municipalities to seize arising opportunities and minimise potential risks associated with the introduction of renewable energy technologies in the domestic electricity system. He said as part of the medium-term solutions, SALGA remains convinced that there is a need to unbundle the role of the national power utility, Eskom, within the energy value chain.  “As SALGA, we hope that the spirit of ‘Thuma Mina’, ‘Send Me’ - will challenge each and every participant in this Summit to get involved in creating a sustainable energy future for our municipalities, provinces and throughout South Africa”, he said


 
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