In 2003 the South African Department of Minerals and Energy (DME) published a White Paper on renewable energy. As a company, we would like to supplement the DME White Paper on Energy Policy of 1998 and present the South African government’s vision, policy principles, strategic goals and objectives in promoting and introducing renewable energy to the people of South Africa (DME 2003, vii). The major objectives of government energy policy were spelled out in the 1998 Energy White Paper as:
- increasing access to affordable energy services;
- improving energy governance;
- stimulating economic development;
- managing energy-related environmental impacts; and
- securing supply through diversity (DME, 1998).
The DME set a target of a 10,000 GWh renewable energy contribution to final energy consumption by 2013 (DME 2003, vii). However, this target is cumulative, starting in 2003, and so equivalent to an average of 1000 GWh/year (DME RED 2009, 12).
The White Paper refers to biomass, wind, solar and small-scale hydro as principal energy sources. It focuses on larger and economically viable projects rather than small-scale electrification programmes, even though electrification is seen as an especially pressing issue in rural areas. Government has set targets for increasing the use of renewable energy by 2020. To achieve the renewable energy target, the government is committed to strengthening competition in the electricity market. It is seeking to create an enabling environment for independent power producers that use renewable energy sources. It is also committed to developing a Strategy on Renewable Energy which will “translate the goals, objectives and deliverables set out herein into a practical implementation plan” (DME 2003, xiii).