Press Room

New umbrella body for renewables sector formally launched

Posted at May 23, 2014 | By : | Categories : Press Room | 0 Comment

By: Terence Creamer

The South African Renewable Energy Council (Sarec) has been formally launched as the umbrella body and “single voice” for all renewable-energy associations in the country.

The organisation comprises the South African Photovoltaic Industry Association, the South African Wind Energy Association (Sawea), the Sustainable Energy Society of Southern Africa and the Southern African Solar Thermal and Electricity Association, and has set up offices in Johannesburg.

Chairperson Johan van den Berg, who is also CEO of Sawea, tells Engineering News Online that Sarec had it genesis in 2011 when the various associations participated individually in the drafting of the Green Economic Accord. Through that process, government made a request for the creation of a single entity with which it could consult.

Van den Berg does not envisage Sarec displacing the lobbying and advocacy efforts of the various member associations. Instead, it will seek to encourage the further development and deployment of renewable energy in South Africa’s energy mix.

It will also seek to highlight the positive contribution that such a deployment could have on communities, electricity security, employment and on the creation of green industries.

One of Sarec’s first projects will be the production of a documentary exploring the impact that the first wind and solar projects have had on surrounding communities.

Following three competitive bidding rounds under South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP), 64 projects had been selected to proceed, of which 47 are either under construction or already operational. Community involvement and social development have been included as specific bidding requirements.

Sarec has also launched a study into the relative cost/benefit of deploying renewables to reduce the country’s current dependence on diesel-fuelled open-cycle gasturbines, which are being run at an extremely high financial cost to Eskom.

The organisation will also seek to make input on energy policy, as well as offer suggestions on how the REIPPPP process could be improved, especially for small-scale projects.

Edited by: Creamer Media Reporter