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Pres Zuma: Shale gas a game changer for SA

Pres Zuma: Shale gas a game changer for SA

Jun 19, 2014

South African President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation Address on Tuesday 17 June 2014 touched on structural changes required to cater to mass energy distribution in the country, as well as the Government’s Integrated Urban Development Framework, which will be finalised on 30 July this year.

In the transcript below, President Zuma speaks of the need for decisive response to the country’s energy constraints, as well as dealing with the issues rapid urbanisation has brought and will continue to bring.

Fellow South Africans,
We need to respond decisively to the country’s energy constraints in order to create a conducive environment for growth.

The successful electrification programme which has changed the lives of many households was achieved by tapping into artificial electricity reserves, which had not been designed to cater for mass energy distribution.

This situation calls for a radical transformation of the energy sector, to develop a sustainable energy mix that comprises coal, solar, wind, hydro, gas and nuclear energy.

The transformation will require structural changes in the manner in which government departments, affected state owned companies and the industry as a whole address the energy challenges.

The energy plan also calls for the injection of capital and human resources into the energy sector. We will also need to identify innovative approaches to fast-track procurement and delivery by government in the energy sector.

To prepare the institutional capacity, we are in the process of converting the National Nuclear and Energy Executive Coordinating Committee of Cabinet, into the Energy Security Cabinet Sub-committee.  The sub-committee will be responsible for the oversight, coordination and direction of activities for the energy sector. The sub-committee will also ensure that Eskom receives the support it requires to fulfil its mandate and that it remains focused on achieving its goals and targets.

To achieve our energy security goals, state owned companies involved in the Energy Sector, such as Eskom, South African Nuclear Energy Corporation and the Central Energy Fund will have to adapt to the redefined roles to achieve these objectives.

Work needs to be done at a technical level on all forms of energy especially nuclear energy and shale gas with regards to funding, safety, exploitation and the local manufacture of components.

Nuclear has the possibility of generating well over 9000 megawatts, while shale gas is recognised as a game changer for our economy.
We will pursue the shale gas option within the framework of our good environmental laws.

There are also some urgent activities that we are engaging in, in the short term. Progress at Medupi power station construction site will be accelerated.

Plans on the financing of the next large coal fired power station, Coal 3, will be speeded up so that the procurement process can commence.
We will also continue the 4th window of the renewable energy independent power producers programme, to take advantage of wind, solar, biomass and other technologies that increase the opportunity for rural development.

Honourable Speaker and Honourable Chairperson, we are also looking beyond our borders for energy security. In October last year we signed the Grand Inga Hydro Power Project Treaty with the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo. This massive and strategic project has the potential to generate 40 000 megawatts of hydro-electricity. Our country will benefit enormously from this milestone project.

To prepare for the implementation of the energy plan, we need to finalise the legislation that relates to the restructuring of the energy industry as envisaged by the Independent System Market Operator Bill, the Integrated Resource Plan and other policies affecting the Energy sector.

A key focus area in local government in the next five years will be how we respond to the reality of rapid urbanisation.
South Africa is becoming an urban country. By 2011 almost 63% of our population were residing in towns and cities and this trend is expected to continue over the coming decade.

Our government’s Integrated Urban Development Framework will be finalised by 30 July 2014.

It will provide a new deal for South African cities and towns. It will set out a policy framework on how the urban system in South Africa can be reorganised so that cities and towns can become inclusive, resource efficient and good places to live in over the next 20 to 30 years.

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