South Africa is ready to make its mark in the renewable energy sector. The World Bank has recently granted a $250-million (R1.5- billion) loan through its Clean Technology Fund to South African power utility names Eskom;
the companies’ goal is to help the country to reduce its reliance on coal-based power generation and depend more on renewable energy. Eskom will be developing a wind and solar plant, namely; a 100 megawatt solar power plant in Upington with is in the North Cape Province and also a 100-megwatt wind power project, which is in the Western Cape just north of Cape Town.
These two renewable energy projects will be the largest that have ever been attempted in the entire African continent. Eskom predicts that the construction of the 100-megawatt wind power project will start early in 2012.
Elbrahim Khan from Wesgro, the Western Cape Investment and Trade Promotion Agency said “These investments are a breath of fresh air and it shows that South Africa is no longer just talking about renewable energy,”
He also added “The good news for South Africa is that there are serious ambitions to get our energy mix right and there are more renewable energy power projects in the pipeline that are to be funded by private investors.”
It is evident that for both the private and public, South Africa is fast becoming a preferred renewable energy investments destination; this is very good news for South Africa’s increasing electricity demands, emerging clean energy sector and the economy.
There are also certain key investment areas in the country; these are the Eastern Cape, Western Cape where investments are predominantly into wind and photovoltaic (PV) solar power and the Northern Cape Province which has been recognised as the best area for concentrated solar power (CSP) technology, this technology uses mirrors or lenses to concentrate a large area of sunlight, or solar thermal energy onto a small area, this usually takes place with rotating panels.
South Africa certainly has the potential to develop itself into a major player in the clean energy sector. This is clear by the substantial amount of interest that has been shown by investors in recent months.
“We are going for renewable energy in a big way,” Khan said