Energy Minister, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, today launched the Ngwaabe Integrated Energy Centre (IeC) at Feta-Kgomo Greater Tubatse Municipality. The Centre was launched in partnership with Shell SA and Feta-Kgomo Greater Tubatse Municipality. The Centre is a community project aimed at enhancing access to energy in rural areas and is a one-stop energy shop owned and operated by a community Cooperative project. It provides energy solutions to communities, access to affordable, safe and sustainable energy services.
The Integrated Energy Centre programme is an initiative of the Department of Energy in response to White Paper on Energy Policy which advocates for increased affordable energy services to disadvantaged communities to stimulate economic development by creating investor friendly climate, and securing energy supply by encouraging diversity of energy supplies and energy carriers.
This programme is designed to make a significant contribution to job creation, poverty alleviation and rural enterprise development. The Department of Energy has aligned the Integrated Energy Centre programme to the Comprehensive Rural Development Programme which is aimed at improving socio-economic conditions of rural communities. Noting the critical role of energy in improving the quality of people’s lives, Integrated Energy Centres are targeted at rural areas of our country, which are generally plagued by energy poverty. To date there are nine (9) operational Centres across four (4) provinces. That is, in the Eastern Cape, Limpopo, Kwa-Zulu Natal, and Northern Cape, while more are in the pipeline and will be announced soon.
“I am pleased to note that Shell SA has come on board with their first Integrated Energy Centre here in Limpopo, which we know to be among the most energy poor provinces nationally. Their participation in this commendable programme strengthens the existing relationship between government and the private sector – particularly the energy industry. I am pleased to report to the people of Sekhukhune that Shell SA invested R18 million in this project. Currently the Centre provides employment for 16 local residents of Ngwaabe village. This is true empowerment of black South Africans and I call upon more energy companies to invest in the programme as part of the transformation agenda,” said Minister Joemat-Pettersson.
The promotion of the usage of diverse energy sources is also important for the nation’s effective and efficient energy usage. In contributing to the local community’s use of varied energy sources, the Integrated Energy Centre will open up a space for cleaner alternative energy products. Going forward, government also intends to integrate clean energy technologies into this IeC and others, so that all of us can be responsive towards the concerning issues of climate change. “We live in a country which is a part of the global village. Whatever happens in the globe affects us as South Africans. We believe that through the Integrated Energy Centre programmme we are contributing to uplifting the socio-economic conditions of our people. This Centre is an enterprise development initiative and I appeal to the Co-operative to manage it in a sustainable manner”, Minister Joemat-Pettersson concluded.
The Integrated Energy Centre programme augers well with the National Development Plan (NDP) which seeks to promote social equity through expanded access to energy at affordable prices. This expanded access to energy will lead to the betterment of rural livelihoods and development of rural economies. The NDP sets out various methods to tackle unemployment, poverty, inequality and other challenges facing our country.
Access to modern energy services by poor households underlies many of the objectives of the NDP including poverty reduction and improved quality of life, the health and safety of all citizens, the delivery of adequate services and infrastructure, as well as overall economic development for the country particularly in under-serviced communities. The Petroleum Products Act (PPA) makes provision to transform the liquid fuel sector through ensuring that historically disadvantaged individuals are considered for licences. The Ngwaabe Energy Co-operative has been issued with petroleum licences and they are now empowered to trade in petroleum products.Distributed by APO on behalf of The Department of Energy, South Africa.