Energy minister Jeff Radebe has reaffirmed government’s commitment to renewable energy as part of the country’s energy mix.

Delivering the keynote address at the African Utility Week conference in Cape Town on Tuesday, Radebe highlighted the successes of renewable energy in South Africa through government’s “very successful independent power producers procurement programme”.

“To date we have concluded 91 projects with a capacity of 63 000 megawatts (MW). Of this 62 of these projects have the combined capacity of 3800 MW which already is connected to the grid,” he noted.

Radebe also told delegates the country has seen a “significant decline in tariffs of about 55% for wind and 76% for solar”.

According to the minister about R136 billion has been invested in the South African economy with another R56 billion to be invested over the next 3 to 5 years when construction of 27 renewable power projects signed in April, will commence.

Radebe pointed out that 39 000 jobs would be created for South Africans with these projects, and an estimated 23 million tons of carbon dioxide would be reduced. He also reaffirmed that there would be substantial savings of water.

While the minister assured delegates that the long awaited Integrated Resource Plan is expected to be finalised in August later this year no outright mention was made of South Africa’s nuclear energy plans.

The conference ends Thursday with a specific focus on nuclear energy.