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Oct 05, 2007

South Africa gets set to subsidise renewable-energy schemes

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Johannesburg|Africa|CoAL|Environment|Global Environment Facility|PROJECT|Projects|Renewable Energy|Renewable-Energy|System|Africa|South Africa|Electricity|Energy|Energy Needs|Energy Policy|Energy Summit|Energy Technologies|Finance Office|Renewable Energy|Renewable-energy Projects|Renewable-energy Technologies|Wind Energy|South African Government|Buyelwa Sonjica|Power|BIOFUELS|Renewable Energy Technologies|Renewable-energy Technologies
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© Reuse this The South African government has set up a subsidy and finance office to guide funding for renewable-energy technologies, Minerals and Energy Minister Buyelwa Sonjica said in Johannesburg, at an energy summit, where industry stakeholders deliberated over possible changes to the country’s energy policy. She said that South Africa would also establish a new certification system to support the development of renewable-energy projects.

The Tradable Renewable Energy Certification System would provide an additional revenue stream for the development of the projects, and would be operational by early next year, she said.

Renewable energy technologies, such as solar power, wind power, hydroelectricity, biomass and biofuels, are set to play a key role in South Africa’s energy needs, which are currently being met by electricity generated by coal. But the technologies are often criticised for being “unreliable and unsightly” and too costly, when compared with technologies such as coal-fired power.

Sonjica said, however, that the State recognises that there were barriers to the introduction of more renewable energy in South African industry, and cited high capital costs.

“Overcoming the initial high capital costs and increasing the commercialisation of renewable-energy technologies in a market driven by [an] energy economy will guide funding for renewable-energy technologies.”

She said that South Africa had also partnered with the Global Environment Facility (GEF), an international organisation helping developing countries fund projects and programmes that protect the environment, to provide technical assistance to renewable-energy project developers, and to use investment from the private sector.

The GEF would assist the State in implementing a South African wind energy programme, and renewable-energy market transformation projects.

The country had, thus far, managed to kick-start the interest from investors and independent power producers to start developing local renewable-energy projects, but medium- to long-term financial mechanisms would now have to be developed, Sonjica stated.

The Department of Minerals and Energy and the National Energy Regulator of South Africa have started looking at the development of medium- to long-term financial mechanisms.

Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu
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