We have 9,789MW of renewable energy applications in our hands: Barbara Creecy
Forestry, fisheries and environment minister Barbara Creecy said on Friday that 9,789MW of renewable energy applications are in the department’s hands.
The department is expediting environmental impact assessment applications from the usual 107 to 57 days.
“We are working hard to cut the red tape and get these projects finalised,” she said.
Creecy is delivering the department’s budget vote to the National Assembly on Friday.
The applications consist of 2,899MW for solar PV, 6,890MW for wind-energy facilities and many including battery-energy storage systems, she said. Another 15 applications relating to grid transmission and distribution infrastructure are being prioritised.
“Grid capacity is a national priority to solve, not only for our transition needs but also for our short-term emergency to solve load-shedding,” Creecy said.
The minister was adamant South Africa must tackle load-shedding and climate change. “It is not a 'one or the other' decision.”
South Africa is particularly vulnerable to loss and damage caused by climate change, such as drought, and cannot afford to backtrack on its commitments to reduce fossil fuel emissions, said Creecy, adding that local government will be supported in preparing for and adapting to extreme weather.
“Work by the SA Weather Service to automate and modernise its observations infrastructure [will warn the public] timeously of extreme weather events. This would save lives and livelihoods.”
Cleaning up provincial capitals and smaller metros was another priority, Creecy said.
The government recently adopted the White Paper on Conservation and Sustainable Use of South Africa’s Biodiversity and the country has received a global grant to develop its implementation.
Creecy announced efforts to tackle criminality in the Kruger landscape and “to address rhino poaching and related wildlife crimes in the Hluhluwe/iMfolozi game reserve through support to Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife”.
Invasive alien plants are being cleared from the Isimangaliso Wetland Park estuary mouth and a new management plan is expected by August, she said.
Creecy said appeals for fishing rights are nearing completion and the department is finalising the process for small-scale fishing rights in the Western Cape.
“The fishing sector remains an important contributor to the economy and to the improvement of the lives of especially coastal communities.”
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