South Africa takes initiative on renewables

The new energy minister of South Africa told the Africa Energy conference that the country would undertake such goals as one million solar water geysers in the next five years in order to create cleaner, cheaper energy.

Minister of Energy Dipuo Peters said Monday, “For South Africa we have identified energy efficiency and conservation as a low risk and low cost option to respond to climate change imperatives and also as a way of also postponing some of the investment in infrastructure, the funding for which in this economic climate may be challenging. For the sake of the planet and as inheritance for future generations we need to learn to do more with less in as far as energy use is concerned.”

The refining of current sources is also a priority. “The South African National Oil Company, PetroSA, is about to conclude a feasibility study into a crude oil refinery, whose output could serve the region’s future petroleum products needs. We are exploring the possibility of making this facility a regional facility by attracting investments from the neighbouring countries in return amongst others for greater security of fuel supply.”

During the G-8 and Group of 17 meetings in Italy, some observers are casting South Africa and other emerging economies as resistant to cleaner fuel.  Peters gave a different perspective.  “Coming back to the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) that I referred to earlier, Africa has only registered 30 projects with the CDM executive board and that has got to be increased. An increase of such projects has the potential of not only reducing Greenhouse Gas emissions but also to generate income. I would like to propose that we consider the formation of a regional structure to coordinate the work of Designated National Authorities (DNAs). We have been assisting in the formation of DNAs in other countries in the continent. I am giving these details to demonstrate that there is capacity already in the continent that we can build on as we tackle climate change.”

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