CEO Voice: 31 March 2020
Two months ago we were talking about Coronavirus Disease as a distant crisis, which many didn’t anticipate to reach our doors so soon. We are now facing the dire impact of this pandemic.
As I mentioned in my communication last week the wind energy industry will be affected alongside other economic sectors. The IPP Office have been very proactive last week to respond to most of the concerns we had raised. As a sector we have an opportunity (and an approval from the IPPO) to redirect the SED funds towards efforts to assist the country (particularly the communities we operate in) to fight the scourge of COVID-19, let us use this advantage to maximise our impact as a sector.
Adding salt to the wound was the ratings agency Moody’s decision to downgrade the country’s credit rating to junk status, despite calls to postpone the decision until after the COVID-19 crisis. As we need to rebuild the economy post crisis, the downgrade makes this an even more challenging task.
Beyond this dark cloud we have to look at what role we, as the Wind Industry, will play to reignite the economy. Government is already working on stimulus packages to counter the dire economic impacts of COVID-19. This coincides with the energy crisis that the country was already experiencing long before the pandemic became a central issue for South Africa. This presents an opportunity for government to prioritise renewable energy infrastructure as part of the stimulus package in order to bolster economic activity post COVID-19 crisis.
The existence of the IRP 2019 and the fact that NERSA concurrence process on the Section 34 Ministerial Determination is currently underway, strengthens the case for renewable energy procurement. However, while we push for inclusion of renewable energy new build into the stimulus package, as an industry we need to keep tabs on how the global supply chain slow down will impact the new build programme.
Finally I would like to commend government, across all spheres, for taking very bold decisions in the past weeks and for keeping constant communication with its citizens, this is really “all hands on deck” at work.