Tag Archives: clean technology

SA transforming into a renewable energy hub

South Africa is quickly becoming a favored renewable energy investment place to go for both private and public sector investors – best news for the country’s escalating electricity requirements, emerging clean energy sector and the overall economy.

The World Bank not too long ago authorized a $250-million (R1.5- billion) loan to South African power utility Eskom in order to develop a wind and solar plant, that can assist the nation to lower its reliance on coal-based power generation.

The World Bank, which approved the financing via its Clean Technology Fund, will finance a 100-megawatt solar power plant in Upington in the Northern Cape province as well as a 100-megawatt wind power project north of Cape Town in the Western Cape.




Leading clean energy projects in Africa

The financial loan will make it possible for Eskom to construct two of the biggest renewable energy projects ever tried on the African continent.

Ebrahim Khan from Wesgro, the Western Cape Investment and Trade Promotion Agency, welcomed the World Bank’s investment into the renewable energy sector.

“These investment strategies are a breath of fresh air and it demonstrates that South Africa is no longer just talking about renewable energy,” Khan said.

“The best part about it for South Africa is the fact that there are serious goals and objectives to get our energy mix right and there are definitely more renewable energy power projects in the pipeline which are to be backed by private investors,” he added.




Key investment areas

He said that the Eastern Cape, Western Cape and Northern Cape Provinces have already been identified as the key regions to create renewable energy plants, in particular wind and solar.

“Many individuals don’t are aware that the Northern area of the Western Cape has higher irradiation compared to best locations in Spain and the State of California,” he explained.

In the Western Cape, financial investment is predominantly into wind and photovoltaic (PV) solar power. PV solar-power generation transforms solar radiation to electricity as a result of static panels.

He said that photovoltaics is the primary type of solar technology which is used widely on a commercial scale in other regions around the world.

The Northern Cape has been recognized as the most effective area for concentrated solar power (CSP) technology, which makes use of mirrors or lenses to concentrate a significant area of sunlight, or solar thermal energy onto a small area, typically with rotating panels.


Wesgro estimates that about 40% to 50% of the 1 850 wind technology projects and 30% to 40% of the 1 450 PV projects will come to the Western Cape.

As outlined by Wesgro, wind resources in the Western Cape are significant and possibly the best in the country.

“We are going for renewable energy in a big way,” he said.

Khan stated that South Africa possesses the potential to turn into a major player in the clean energy sector, with considerable interest being displayed by investors during the past couple of months.

Wesgro in addition has hosted many delegations who would like to be involved in the renewable energy sector. “The majority of of these companies are big players,” he said.

Scientific studies are still under way into ocean and wave technology, which could also be employed to generate energy.

“There are universities in the province which have been working on innovations with ocean and wave technologies, however the models have not been completely figured out yet,” Khan added.



Construction to start in 2012

Eskom is in the process of building and upgrading established coal-fired power plants in order to meet South Africa’s immediate energy needs, however it would like to broaden the energy mix toward cleaner sources of energy.

A year ago the World Bank received criticism for approving a $3.75-billion (R29.3 billion) loan for the creation of a coal-fired plant in South Africa, but Eskom explained the project was required to address the country’s chronic power shortages.

Eskom anticipates that the construction of the 100-megawatt wind power project north of Cape Town will commence at the start of 2012.


Possibilities for manufacturing

Khan stated that there are excellent possibilities to set up a manufacturing sector focused entirely on parts and components for the renewable energy sector.

In the wind energy sector, European companies have already been searching for suitable sites to set up plants to manufacture components including blades for wind turbines, because they are incredibly cumbersome to transport.

Wind power company Isivunguvungu Wind Energy Converter (I-WEC) has identified Cape Town as its base to produce Africa’s first multi-megawatt wind turbines.

Cape Business News reports that a large 42-ton mould, which a short while ago arrived at Table Bay Harbour from China, will be utilized to manufacture 50m-long rotor blades for the 2.5MW turbines. This surpasses the span of an Airbus wing.



The company intends to commence production on its first turbine right away, in time to set up the final product in Saldanha, northwest of Cape Town, early next year.

As outlined by I-WEC, the new 2.5MW turbines are nearly twice the size and capacity of the 1.3MW turbines currently utilized in South Africa.

Each turbine has the ability to supply enough electrical power to run approximately 2 000 average South African households for a year.

I-WEC is in addition the very first South African and African company that can manufacture the multi-megawatt wind turbines locally, making use of local labour. Up to 70% of the turbines’ components are going to be produced in South Africa.

Source: mediaclubsouthafrica.com


Summit calls for government to fast-track green growth

South Africa’s first Green Economy Summit ended with delegates calling for the development of green growth policies and regulations which support the development of clean technologies.

As part of the declaration, the 650 delegates – including international guests – resolved to put the brakes on carbon emissions and other forms of pollution that have proved to be a hurdle to green economy development. The summit, held in Sandton, ended on Thursday.

They also resolved to push for the diversification of energy sources and implementation of energy efficient programmes, crucial for ensuring green growth. The summit was organised by the Environmental Affairs Department and as such, the declaration commits the government, with the help of civil organisations and business, to implement a plan that would lead to a job intensive green economy.

Green economy to stimulate job creation

A transition to a green economy has been stated as one that could stimulate the much-needed job creation in the country. Both Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel and his Environmental Affairs counterpart Buyelwa Sonjica earlier this week said the renewable energy industry could boost the government’s plans of halving unemployment by 2014.

Patel told delegates at the Summit on Tuesday that the green economy sector was capable of creating some 300 000 jobs over ten years. It is projected that the benefits, which includes health and pollution management, waste collection, disposal, and storage activities, could generate between R22 billion and R36 billion within the environmental sector and could potentially create 20 000 jobs by 2013. Green jobs have been defined as those jobs which reduce the environmental impact of enterprises and economic sectors, ultimately to levels which are sustainable.

The summit recognised that to achieve job creation, fundamental questions needed to be answered such as how the country’s macroeconomic policy would be realigned to meet the needs of green growth; the role of public expenditure and look at how the Department of Environmental Affairs will work with other stakeholders to ensure the successful transition to green economy.

“Today, the natural resource base of our planet is in danger, as indicated by many presenters in this Summit. This should be of concern to all if we want future generations to live in a healthy and fairer planet,” said Maggie Sotyu, chairperson of Parliament’s portfolio committee on Environmental Affairs.

She said parliament will play a significant role in initiating and speeding up the process of greening the economy, especially in the form of new legislation and policy frameworks to facilitate the realisation of green economy in the country.

Sotyu said the impact of the global economic crisis propelled many developed and developing nations to put forward national and international policy responses and proposals for the way forward in terms of reforming the financial architecture and global economic governance.

“In light of the recent political developments, new threats and challenges, and the need to identify alternative development, strategies are needed to support key objectives,” she said.

Reducing transport carbon footprint

The summit declaration further touched on the role of the transport sector in ensuring that it reduces its carbon footprint through cost effective interventions including shifting freight from road to rail as well as passengers towards public transport. One delegate from Port Elizabeth even suggested the introduction of bicycle lanes on all of the country’s major roads to encourage the use of bicycles, something that is practiced in most European countries.

In a unity statement produced at the end of the conference, delegates committed to ensuring that the country’s growth path is resource sufficient, far less carbon intensive and more labour absorbing.

The meeting also drew attention to concerns that the current patterns of production and consumption may lead to unsustainable utilization and collapse of natural ecosystems which underpin social and economic growth.

Zuma supports new growth path

Addressing the summit on Tuesday, President Jacob Zuma committed government to embarking on a new growth path that will aim at creating jobs through green economy and climate friendly initiatives.

Zuma said renewable energy is becoming an increasingly viable alternative to the energy sources that fuelled the growth of the developed world. “But for Africa to make use of its abundant renewable energy sources, it needs substantial investment, skills, technology and greater economic integration,” he said.

Source: BuaNews, urbansprout.co.za, dfg.ca.gov, greencitizens.net,