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Solar power sector awaits clarity on govt's energy plan

The country's solar energy sector says the delays in updating the integrated energy plan is retarding development of the industry and denying South Africans cheaper electricity options.

Energy Minister Jeff Radebe. Picture: GCIS

CAPE TOWN - The Energy sector will be looking to Minister Jeff Radebe on Wednesday to provide more clarity on government's plan for its energy needs.

The country's solar energy sector says the delays in updating the integrated energy plan is retarding development of the industry and denying South Africans cheaper electricity options.

Radebe will be presenting his department's budget in Parliament today.

Last year, Energy Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane promised that the integrated resource plan would be finalised by February. Her successor, David Mahlobo, said that it would be done two months earlier by the end of 2017.

But by the time Jeff Radebe took office in March, there was still no plan.

Energy Department officials told Pariament last month it could still not provide a date for the completion of the plan as it needed more work.

Solar energy expert Chris Haw says that the delays are affecting the country's competitiveness.

"There is actually a vacuum of projects that are causing delays and retarding the development of the industry and economy as a whole."

Government, he says, should be using its coal remaining reserves to manage the move to a zero-carbon grid.

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