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South Africa: Eskom, WWF in joint renewable energy research initiative

In a joint initiative with the World Wildlife Fund for Nature, Eskom has committed R3m per year for three years in renewable energy research in order to promote local development and uptake of renewable energy in South Africa.
The initiative will be jointly administered by Eskom and the World Wildlife Fund for Nature SA (WWF-SA). An advisory committee will also be established including stakeholders such as the Departments of Minerals and Energy, Environmental Affairs and Tourism and Science and Technology, as well as academia, and investors in renewable energy projects.

According to Eskom CEO Thulani Gcabashe, “The funds will be available specifically for renewable energy research projects undertaken outside of Eskom, supporting the development of the Renewable Energy sector”.

CEO of the WWF-SA, Tony Frost, explained that ventures which would qualify included both on and off-grid applications, concept developments, feasibility studies and small-scale demonstration projects.

With the recent dramatic increase in research on global warming, as well as what looks to be a tipping point in high-level awareness of the severity of climate change, analysts are predicting a large growth in the renewable energy market.

International reports suggest that the growth of renewable energy is already having an effect on the diversification of the energy business, and which is likely to result in increased energy security.

A report by Agama Energy in late 2003 suggested that the growth in the renewable energy sector in South Africa could conservatively generate more than 1 million direct and indirect jobs by 2020, in contrast to the trend of declining jobs in the non-renewable energy sector. This estimate included both the electricity generation as well as the transport fuels sector.

The City of Cape Town recently signed a 20-year contract to buy wind energy from the yet-to-be built Darling wind farm, becoming the first city in South Africa to effectively embrace renewable energy.


Additional information:
News date: 08/10/2006

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