GCRO, Gauteng COGTA and PARI co-host an exploratory energy crisis workshop

  • Date of publication: 31 March 2023

In his State of the Nation Address (February 2023), President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a National State of Disaster in response to South Africa’s electricity crisis. He announced his plans to appoint a Minister of Electricity to oversee the electricity crisis response and the work of the National Energy Crisis Committee (NECOM). Following these announcements, the Gauteng Provincial Government organised an ‘energy solutions EXPO’ to engage with stakeholders in the energy sector on formulating long-term solutions and partnerships to achieve a sustainable energy mix in the province. This event informed Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi’s pronouncement at his State of the Province Address; that the Gauteng Provincial Government would “set the ball rolling” in response to the electricity crisis by releasing R1.2bn in funds to its mitigation, with plans to begin construction of an 800 MW solar farm in Merafong.

In the wake of these national and provincial pronouncements, the Gauteng City-Region Observatory (GCRO), The Energy Office in Gauteng COGTA and the Public Affairs Research Institute (PARI) co-hosted an exploratory workshop on Gauteng energy research opportunities and collaborations on 16 March 2023. The workshop brought together national, provincial, and local governments with researchers from the GCRO, PARI, CSIR, Wits School of Governance, UJ, SACN and MISTRA to achieve a number of objectives:

  1. To discuss the state of the energy crisis in the province;
  2. To understanding the research needs of Gauteng’s provincial and local government in driving a response to the current energy crisis;
  3. To identify current energy transition and crisis mitigation research being conducted by various organisations; and
  4. In light of the alignment or gaps between research needs and current or potential research contributions, to discuss possible future collaborations/partnerships and next steps.

Provisionally, the workshop agreed on a number of possible next steps, including:

  1. Reconvening participants and other stakeholders for a follow-up symposium to discuss some of the findings of the research currently underway;
  2. Arranging a masterclass on how municipalities can engage with regulatory changes required to help facilitate the energy transition;
  3. As part of PARI's work, and potentially in collaboration with Gauteng COGTA, running an energy innovation lab to help build a transition-capable state.

A more detailed minute of the workshop, summarising key points from the discussions and questions needing further research, is being prepared, and will be linked to this news story in due course.


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