A new initiative to promote renewable energy and the green economy in the Western Cape was launched in Cape Town on Friday.
The GreenCape initiative is a government-funded, industry-led initiative to support the development of renewable energy in the province.
Western Cape Minister of Finance, Economic Development & Tourism Alan Winde said at a media briefing that the provincial government wanted to go from "talk to action". The initiative had been mandated with the roll-out of a comprehensive green economy strategy.
He said that the provincial government provided R5-million to kick-start projects in the sector.
"This initiative is supported by each and every member of the Cabinet, including the premier. We are building a new sector in this province, and from it, we will achieve significant growth and jobs", said Winde.
He stated that the Western Cape had set itself a target to achieve a 15% shift to renewable energy generation by 2014.
This had the potential to create 20 000 jobs and attract R45-billion worth of investment into the province over the next ten years.
The GreenCape initiative had been established to facilitate the achievement of the target and growth of the province's renewable energy sector.
Dr Francois du Plessis has been appointed the CEO of GreenCape.
Speaking at a renewable energy and green economy conference in Cape Town on Friday, Du Plessis said that the objective of the initiative was to ensure that the Western Cape was at the forefront of green technology.
Its primary goals in its first two years of operation would be to become the ‘shop window' for the sector and to promote the transition of the Western Cape economy to greater resource efficiency and a low-carbon future. It would also seek to build manufacturing capabilities in the province and to create new jobs.
"I will be held accountable for removing barriers to green business," added Du Plessis.
GreenCape would have 15 board members, which would report to Winde.
The initiative would focus its attention on six priority areas through the use of sub-committees including, wind, solar water heaters, bio-energy, skills, policy and incubation.
Du Plessis added that the Western Cape had several competitive advantages in the renewable energy sectors. The province had two-thirds of South Africa's wind resources and had good solar and biomass potential, the province had four tertiary institutions, and it had a diversified manufacturing base.