Sustainable Energy Strategy of the Eastern Cape

Mr. Alistair MacMaster
Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism

The Eastern Cape Sustainable Energy Strategy responds to a number of imperatives. These include the need for improved provincial energy security and self-sufficiency, improved access to energy among the poorest in the province, and the need to stimulate a green and low-carbon economy underpinning decent and sustainable jobs. 

The strategy was adopted by the Provincial Executive Council in June 2012. The strategy sets out a vision for the province, namely that “the Eastern Cape should provide the most enabling environment for sustainable energy investment and implementation in the country”. In support of this vision the strategy pursues goals of job creation and skills development, ensuring energy justice, reducing Greenhouse Gas emissions and promoting the development of a renewable energy generation and manufacturing industry in the province. In this regard, with its ports, industrial development zones, associated infrastructure and a strong manufacturing base linked to the auto-sector, it is pleasing to note that the Eastern Cape is well placed to establish itself as the clean energy manufacturing region servicing local component targets for the national renewable energy spend. 

The Eastern Cape Province has attracted a significant share of the national Renewable Energy procurement allocation to date. The role of large-scale energy facilities in the province do no doubt have positive local economic development impacts, particularly in rural areas. However, one should not forget the role of smaller renewable energy projects in the development of our province. The Sustainable Energy Strategy places emphasis on the potential role of small and rural energy systems in enterprise and local economic development. In support of this, bio-energy opportunities, including biofuels, are encouraged. 

The scope of renewable energy cuts across all spheres of government, and across business, labour and civil society. All are equal partners in creating an enabling environment for clean energy systems. The provincial sustainable energy strategy provides an important foundation for enabling an energy diverse, environmentally sustainable and socially just provincial economy. 

A brief overview of the Eastern Cape Sustainable Energy status is provided. This includes the status of utility-scale wind and solar farms, as well as smaller scale initiatives. The opportunities and challenges in developing the sector will be discussed, covering elements such as a supportive institutional environment, skills and innovation, manufacturing and small business participation. The presentation will conclude with a brief provincial outlook incorporating key ingredients for accelerating the sustainable energy sector in the Province.

Short Profile: 
Alistair McMaster is a Senior Manager for Sustainable Energy in the Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEDEAT) – Provincial Government of the Eastern Cape. Alistair works with a small but dedicated team, which has the task of supporting the implementation of the Eastern Cape Sustainable Energy Strategy (2012). In other words the team works to create an enabling environment for sustainable energy development in the province. This ranges from supporting the development of renewable energy and energy efficiency projects, to supporting sustainable energy manufacturing and small business participation in the sustainable energy sector. The team convenes the Provincial Sustainable Energy Forum; and co-convenes the Provincial Green Skills Forum together with the Office of the Premier. A large proportion of effort goes towards mainstreaming renewable energy and energy efficiency in the decision-making of government, industry and the skills sector.