Energy efficiency and renewable energy were sectors with a lot of potential to scale up South African and German co-operation, said Southern African German chamber of commerce and industry CEO Matthias Boddenberg on Tuesday.
“In Germany, we have done several workshops informing South African and German companies on opportunities in that field, from photovoltaic to solar thermal heating,” he told Engineering News Online.
He said the chamber had also established its own affiliated association, the South African Biofuel Association in order to promote an integrated system for renewable energies in South Africa.
“The sun is shining here more often than anywhere else in the world, and we must utilise this God-given gift for the well being of South Africa and our companies,” he added.
The National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) recently released the second phase of the renewable energy feed-in-tariff (Refit), which was hoped to stimulate investment n the area of renewable energy projects.
The second phase of the Refit included previously excluded technologies such as solar photovoltaic, where German expertise in this field was well respected.
“From my point of view it could always be a little bit more, but we are glad that we have now found the first step in the right direction,” said Boddenberg of South Africa’s Refit.
“With the global situation that we are facing now, with global warming, but also with the economic crisis, we are having the chance to do a major shift towards environmentally friendly people,” he asserted.
Germany was said to have created 100 000 jobs in the renewable energy sector between 2004 and 2006. With South Africa’s abundant natural resources from the sun, and wind, it was felt that the country should do more to harness these, and thereby create jobs as well as sustainable green electricity.
The chamber was also conducting training workshops in South Africa, in the field of solar thermal installation, from October. A lack of capacity to install solar water heaters has been identified in the industry as one of the bottlenecks holding back the uptake of this energy saving technology.