The South Africa Bio-Energy Atlas, launched on Friday, will help the government develop and implement its policies. This was pointed out by Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor in her keynote address at the launch ceremony. She highlighted that policies could not be made without data. And that it was lack of data which had contributed to the lack of uptake of bio-energy in the country.
The Bio-energy Atlas will, she affirmed, allow all levels of government – national, provincial and local – to develop bio-energy. It will also permit the identification of opportunities for investors.
"The National Development Plan (NDP) is the first plan we've developed which embraces the whole of the government," she cited. "The NDP takes a wide-ranging view of the challenges and opportunities facing South Africa. It is the one plan we have to address underemployment and inequality." It is designed to be a pragmatic plan, working within the context of a mixed economy.
Furthermore, "South Africa has made several commitments to ensure we have a low-carbon energy mix," she noted. To help meet the country's development challenges, over the years the Department of Science and Technology has made significant investments in Research Chairs and Centres of Excellence, to undertake research and development.
South African cities, for example, suffer from urban sprawl and the continuing effects of apartheid spatial planning (which placed the homes of black employees far from their work places), which increases the use of transport, which, in turn, increases greenhouse gas emissions. These are, she said, "very, very challenging problems".
"We see this Bio-energy Atlas as part of South African researchers' and innovators' responses to the challenges identified in the NDP," affirmed Pandor. She asserted that results were required by 2030. "Our people cannot be in the same situation in 2030 as they are today."