20 October 2011
South Africa has signed a work plan with the International Energy Agency (IEA) that will see the country moving closer to realising its objectives on cleaner energy.
Signed by Energy Minister Dipuo Peters and IEA executive director Maria van der Hoeven at an IEA ministerial meeting in Paris on Tuesday, the work plan will result in cooperation in areas of energy efficiency and renewable energy.
“This will help to contribute to South Africa’s efforts towards a cleaner and more efficient energy future,” Department of Energy said in a statement.
The plan comes after the IEA and South Africa signed a memorandum of understanding on energy issues in July.
The two-day meeting, which ended on Wednesday, saw 37 ministers from 28 member countries and nine partner countries of the IEA, including South Africa, coming together to talk about energy security and sustainability. Other partner countries include Brazil, China and India.
The IEA ministerial meeting, held once every two years, came at a time when new challenges are emerging.
These include the political changes in Arab and North African countries; the calling on the IEA to release strategic oil stock; the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear disaster in Japan, which aroused global concerns on nuclear safety; the Deepwater Horizon incident last year, which highlighted oil pollution; and ongoing high oil prices relating to financial market volatility.
Seminars focused on government and industry coordination to tackle investment challenges, ways to enhance comprehensive energy security and short-term oil market perspective, among others.
Given the negative impact of the Fukushima nuclear disaster and political turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa on oil-sector investment, the draft of IEA’s World Energy Outlook 2011 – to be formally published in November – indicated “a more positive future outlook” for gas, and predicted global primary gas demand to reach 5.1-trillion cubic meters in 2035.
The energy outlook report may have to reassess the demand for coal and natural gas, IEA senior energy analyst Pawel Olejarnik confirmed to the media recently.