JNB Roundtable: A Just Energy Transition in South Africa, 28 November 2017

This Johannesburg leg of the topic was in collaboration with Project 90 by 2030 and was once again expertly facilitated by Ms Tasneem Essop from the National Planning Commission, and the speakers forming the knowledgeable panel included Ms Ntombifuthi Ntuli – CSIR; Mr Mike Levington – Kabi Solar; and Ms Hameda Deedat – NALEDI. A considerable amount of time was spent exploring the just aspect of the energy transition we aspire towards, this helped clarify some of the socio-economic issues concerning South Africa’s energy system. It was agreed that stakeholders need to be more explicit about their demand for the creation of decent and quality jobs. Some matters discussed dealt with the need for the expertise & technical know-how to expand to communities, in order for ownership & operational management in a new energy mix to be viable. In this regard, our education system and skill sets need to be sufficiently upgraded. It was fascinating to discover that the energy transition can be evidenced in various rural areas within the SADC region, where people are purchasing solar panels for everyday use to evade energy poverty. After a question was asked about what is necessary for mechanisms that can push government into action; there was resounding support for the provocation of political imagination in the country. Another common concern had to do with the application of renewable energy to help with the rehabilitation of land that has been damaged by mining as a matter of urgency. The event consciously struck a balance between the status quo and the advocacy for a #justenergytransition – this was welcomed and was an enlightening way to bring the year to a close.

L-R: Ms Hameda Deedat (Acting Executive Director, NALEDI), Ms Palesa Ngwenya (Environment and Energy Researcher, CPLO), Ms Nthombifuthi Ntuli (Research Group Leader: Energy Industry, CSIR), Mr Mike Levington (Director, Kabi Solar), Ms Tasneem Essop (Commissioner, National Planning Commission), and Mr Richard Halsey (Policy Coordinator, Project 90 by 2030)