“We have assemblers of panels, it is important to increase local assembly jobs. It is important that we increase those jobs,” she said, adding that she had visited plants that assemble solar panels.
The majority of solar water heaters were imported, she noted.
People needed to be better skilled so as to avoid being “mixers of concrete,” added the minister.
Recently, the department awarded 47 bids for the participation in the country’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers (IPP) programme. The programme also seeks to make provision for local content in the provision of alternative energy sources.
The 47 bidders is a combination of the 28 bidders selected in Window 1 and 19 bidders in Window 2. They will provide 2416 MW of electricity that will be added to the country’s energy grid by 2016. The investment in the programme is projected at R100 billion over a period of 12 months.
The Integrated Resource Plan (IRP2010) places specific emphasis on broadening electricity supply technologies to include gas, imports, nuclear, biomass, renewables (wind, solar and hydro), in response to both the country's future electricity needs as well as reduce its CO2 emissions.
In the IRP2010, about 42% of electricity generated in South Africa is required to come from renewable resources.
Energy access was central to changing the socio economic disparities of an economy, she said.
The IPP programme also seeks to make provision for local content in the provision of alternative energy sources. If bidders did not comply with the localisation aspect of the programme, bids given to them will be withdrawn, said Peters.
When the IRP2010 was introduced there was a call from Cabinet to develop a nuclear implementation plan as it is the public’s right to know about nuclear power.
The majority of people did not know much about nuclear energy. “We are in the final stages of putting together a nuclear waste management institute,” she told an audience of various stakeholders, adding that there was a need to demystify nuclear energy.