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Legalbrief Environmental – New Renewable Energy Development Zones (REDZs)

New Renewable Energy Development Zones (REDZs)



DEFF Minister Barbara Creecy made a direct connection between government’s proposed designation of Renewable Energy Development Zones (REDZs) in the coal and gold mining towns of Emalahleni and Klerksdorp respectively, and SA’s just transition to a low-carbon, nature-positive economy. An Engineering News report notes that in the briefing ahead of the department's R8.2bn budget vote, Creecy said the proposed promulgation of three new REDZs would fast-track the development of renewable-energy projects in line with the Integrated Resource Plan 2019. Besides Emalahleni, in Mpumalanga, and Klerksdorp, in the North West, a recently released Gazette notice indicated that government also proposed declaring Beaufort West, in the Western Cape, as a REDZ, bringing to 11 the total number of REDZs proclaimed nationally. The Gazette notice, which was published on 17 July, set aside 30 days for the public to comment on the three new REDZs and was released in parallel with similar proposals for seven transmission corridors and the declaration of new gas corridors. Creecy added that all the REDZs had been selected for their combination of natural solar and/or wind resources and their proximity to grid infrastructure. ‘Of course what is interesting about the new areas that we have put out, particularly Emalahleni and Klerksdorp, is that they have historically been coal and gold mining towns. Really it is an experiment to see whether we can generate a renewables industry in those areas, close to existing transmission lines so that we can begin the process of a just transition,’ she explained.

The Minister also underlined the importance of the establishment of the Presidential Climate Change Co-ordinating Commission, which was agreed as part of the Jobs Summit process, to facilitate a just transition. She said the delay in assembling the body could be directly attributable to the Covid-19 lockdown. ‘We have developed terms of reference for that commission. Those terms of reference are in the Cabinet system and I think really it would be more a question of how we facilitate a body like that under current Covid-19 conditions. But obviously our commitment to involving business, organised labour, civil society and, of course, all government role-players in the just transition, remains. It’s more a question how, under these conditions, one makes it functional,’ said Creecy.

Full Engineering News report

 

Trade, Industry and Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel reports that the department is canvassing the ideas of talented people inside and outside his department on a just transition to a greener economy. He argues that the ‘tectonic shifts’ towards greener industries will provide new opportunities for enterprise development and job creation. According to an Engineering News report, delivering his department's revised budget vote during a virtual meeting of lawmakers last week, Patel said repairing the economic damage of the Covid-19 pandemic required better co-ordination and a different way of working. ‘There can be no return to the “old normal”. And nor should there be. It was not fit for future purpose. Established industries, though critical in our economy, will not be able to create the millions of jobs required,’ Patel said. Together with digital technologies and industrial agility, greener industries would ‘profoundly reshape’ the industrial age. SA, he argued, must find its niche in this new environment. The DTIC is central to the drafting of a South African Renewable Energy Masterplan, which is being developed in collaboration with other government departments, organised labour and the Public Private Growth Initiative. The masterplan process, which is currently in the research phase, is expected to culminate in a social compact in the coming months through which the social partners will commit to a vision and programme of action that will include industrialisation and black-empowerment targets. The masterplan will initially focus on the period to 2030, but is likely to include a broader vision to 2050.

Full Engineering News report 

Creecy made a direct connection between government’s proposed designation of Renewable Energy Development Zones (REDZs) in the coal and gold mining towns of Emalahleni and Klerksdorp respectively, and SA’s just transition to a low-carbon, nature-positive economy. An Engineering News report notes that in the briefing ahead of the department's R8.2bn budget vote, Creecy said the proposed promulgation of three new REDZs would fast-track the development of renewable-energy projects in line with the Integrated Resource Plan 2019. Besides Emalahleni, in Mpumalanga, and Klerksdorp, in the North West, a recently released Gazette notice indicated that government also proposed declaring Beaufort West, in the Western Cape, as a REDZ, bringing to 11 the total number of REDZs proclaimed nationally. The Gazette notice, which was published on 17 July, set aside 30 days for the public to comment on the three new REDZs and was released in parallel with similar proposals for seven transmission corridors and the declaration of new gas corridors. Creecy added that all the REDZs had been selected for their combination of natural solar and/or wind resources and their proximity to grid infrastructure. ‘Of course what is interesting about the new areas that we have put out, particularly Emalahleni and Klerksdorp, is that they have historically been coal and gold mining towns. Really it is an experiment to see whether we can generate a renewables industry in those areas, close to existing transmission lines so that we can begin the process of a just transition,’ she explained.

The Minister also underlined the importance of the establishment of the Presidential Climate Change Co-ordinating Commission, which was agreed as part of the Jobs Summit process, to facilitate a just transition. She said the delay in assembling the body could be directly attributable to the Covid-19 lockdown. ‘We have developed terms of reference for that commission. Those terms of reference are in the Cabinet system and I think really it would be more a question of how we facilitate a body like that under current Covid-19 conditions. But obviously our commitment to involving business, organised labour, civil society and, of course, all government role-players in the just transition, remains. It’s more a question how, under these conditions, one makes it functional,’ said Creecy.

Full Engineering News report

 

Trade, Industry and Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel reports that the department is canvassing the ideas of talented people inside and outside his department on a just transition to a greener economy. He argues that the ‘tectonic shifts’ towards greener industries will provide new opportunities for enterprise development and job creation. According to an Engineering News report, delivering his department's revised budget vote during a virtual meeting of lawmakers last week, Patel said repairing the economic damage of the Covid-19 pandemic required better co-ordination and a different way of working. ‘There can be no return to the “old normal”. And nor should there be. It was not fit for future purpose. Established industries, though critical in our economy, will not be able to create the millions of jobs required,’ Patel said. Together with digital technologies and industrial agility, greener industries would ‘profoundly reshape’ the industrial age. SA, he argued, must find its niche in this new environment. The DTIC is central to the drafting of a South African Renewable Energy Masterplan, which is being developed in collaboration with other government departments, organised labour and the Public Private Growth Initiative. The masterplan process, which is currently in the research phase, is expected to culminate in a social compact in the coming months through which the social partners will commit to a vision and programme of action that will include industrialisation and black-empowerment targets. The masterplan will initially focus on the period to 2030, but is likely to include a broader vision to 2050.

Full Engineering News report

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