Western Cape looking to attract renewable energy projects

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The Concentrix solar installation at Aquila, near Touws River
The Western Cape provincial government was seeking to attract renewable energy developers into the area and wanted to play a greater role in facilitation between municipalities, as well as project developers and national government, to get projects started.
The provincial government has set a target of generating 15% of its total energy generation mix from renewable energy by 2014.
Currently, the area derives some 95% of its power from fossil fuels.
Western Cape provincial government MEC for Finance, Economic Development and Tourism Allan Winde said that already, there were developers investigating 17 wind projects alone, in the Western Cape.
Winde added that the provincial government was hoping to attract renewable energy companies to invest not only in electricity generation facilities, but also in downstream manufacturing facilities in the Western Cape, as a way to stimulate the green economy and create sustainable jobs.
Germany-based solar company Concentrix has launched South Africa’s first concentrated photovoltaic solar pilot plant, generating 60 kW, at the Aquila safari game reserve near Touws River.
Winde, who attended the launch, said that the provincial government would be meeting with the project role players to gain insight into the industry and to discuss what opportunities in downstream industry and manufacture existed.
He added that the public and the private sector needed to work together to leverage as much benefit from this industry as possible.
“We realise that we must lead as government,” Winde said, adding that it has put in place programmes to change the carbon footprint of the provincial government, such as the energy efficient retrofit of many of public buildings.
The provincial government owns some R85-billion to R100-billion worth of property and has a staff complement of about 72 000, making it a significant consumer of power in the province.
The provincial government would also be playing close attention to air quality and was setting up monitoring and verification equipment to scrutinise air quality at a number of sites.
Road transport was another issue where green changes could be made and the province said that it would not consider any investment into road construction, but would rather focus on public transport systems, as well as driving a shift from road freight hauling, to transporting goods on rail.
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