Unqualified audit for Department of Energy

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Pretoria - The Department of Energy has received its first unqualified audit with no findings from the office of the Auditor General, since its inception in 2009.

The department presented its 2014/15 annual report to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Energy on Thursday.

The unqualified audit finding was among the highlights of the department’s fifth annual report.

“Simply put, a clean audit means that the Auditor General’s office is satisfied with the DoE’s reports in terms of the financials for the year. To complement the clean audit status of the department, three of the state owned entities that report to the Minister of Energy received unqualified audits from the Auditor General,” said the department in a statement.

The three entities that reported unqualified audits are the National Nuclear Regulator (NNR), National Electricity Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) and the South African National Energy Development Institute (SANEDI).

When coming to electricity supply, which is one of the primary responsibilities of the department, the Renewable Energy Power Producers Programme (REIPPP) continues to contribute to the alleviation of the national electricity supply challenges.

Since inception in August 2011, the REIPPP has maintained its place among the top 10 renewable energy programmes globally – making the country a leader in the sector.

From the 4 Bid Windows of the programme, 92 projects with a capacity of six 327Megawatts has been achieved. By the end of the financial year, 37 of these projects were able to add more than 1 800 MW to the national grid using solar (photovoltaic and concentrated solar power), wind, landfill gas, biomass, and small hydro.

“Most significantly, the positive advances made through the REIPPP, have led to tariff decreases with onshore wind declining by 55%, while solar photovoltaic declined by 62% per unit,” said the department.

Receiving the largest disbursement of the energy programmes with a budget of R7.4 million, the Integrated National Electrification Programme (INEP) successfully spent 99.1% of its R4.5 billion allocation.

The INEP includes the grid and non-grid electrification programmes, which largely focus on bringing electricity to previously excluded deep rural communities.

“The programme continues to make a difference in the lives of South Africans across the board, with 247 485 for the financial year bringing the total number of connections since 1994 to 6.6 million [87 %],” said the department.

With regards to the 9,600 MW new nuclear build, the department reported that progress is being made towards its realization in terms of  the completion of the vendor parades, and five inter-governmental agreements with the USA, France, China, Russia, and South Korea.

The department also updated parliamentarians on the ongoing nuclear skills development and training programme that aims to grow the necessary local skills required for the nuclear build programme.

The committee got first-hand information on the 50 students who recently came back from China and have been re-absorbed into the service of various government departments and entities.

At the meeting, the turbulence in petroleum prices due to international market dynamics was shared with the committee.

Using the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) to run an independent modelling analysis, the department made progress in refining the proposals for the Biofuels Subsidy Model. A task team on cleaner fuels has been established and will also look into issues regarding investment in new refining capacity.

“Noting the challenges in the overall delivery environment, the department committed to come back to brief the committee on developments on the roll out of the Energy Efficiency and Solar Water Heater programmes, the legislative programme, as well as the cross border Grand INGA project.” - SAnews.gov.za