Address by the Minister of Energy, Ms Dipuo Peters at the Solar Park public participation process in Prieska, Northern Cape

South African Government Information 20 October 2012.

Programme Director;
The Acting Premier of Northern Cape Province, Ms Grizelda Cjiekella
The Leadership of the Northern Cape Provincial government;
Members of the Northern Cape Legislature;
Mayor of Siyathemba Municipality;
Chairman of Central Energy Fund (CEF);
Distinguished Guests,
Members of the media;
Ladies and gentlemen.

Thank you all for joining us in this gathering and for allowing me to share some thoughts on the Northern Cape’s Solar Park Initiative.

This gathering presents another opportunity for the leadership of Northern Cape, the interested parties, relevant stakeholders, the community and the whole of South Africa to meet with the Department of Energy and to engage on various issues pertaining to the Solar Park Initiative as well as other energy related matters.

I trust you will all recall ladies and gentlemen that, it was almost two years ago when internal and local investors assembled in this almost isolated province of ours solely to harness the first mover advantage and be ground breakers for the Solar Park Initiative. I want to reassure you that up to this day, the 2010 appetite displayed by investors to come to Northern Cape remains insatiable. Once our plans come to fruition, this initiative will undeniably put Northern Cape on the map of South Africa and the world by replacing the diamond, a mineral that use to attract people to this province, with the sun that will be generating clean, safe and sustainable electricity for South Africa.

Programme Director,

Let me remind everyone once more that the Solar Park dream was established in 2010 after the pre-feasibility study was completed by Clinton Climate Initiative on behalf of the Department of Energy. The study indicated that Northern Cape is the best preferred area in terms of the solar irradiation. Several potential sites were identified in the Northern Cape and that is, two sites in Upington, two sites in Groblershoop, Prieska and De Aar – collectively dubbed the Northern Cape Solar Park Corridor.

The pre-feasibility study analysis further confirmed that the Northern Cape has excellent and consistent sun, flat and sparsely-populated land, the ability to connect to the electricity grid at multiple points and water is available from the Orange River.

As revealed by the pre-feasibility study, the Solar Park Initiative has the potential to house up to 5 000 MW of installed renewable electricity. The estimated land mass that will be required to accommodate such a colossal solar farm is about 9 hectares (ha). To the extent that the Solar Park will adopt a corridor design methodology, it is worth emphasising that the programme will be rolled-out in different phases – meaning that Prieska will not be the be-all and end-all of the Solar Park Initiative; watch the space, Northern Cape will be South Africa’s solar capital. The first phase is envisaged to be 1000 MW…

(Editor’s note: I don’t understand the reference in her last sentence “I believe that we will be satisfied by the outcomes of Mangaung in December 2012.” Any ideas?)

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