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R16 billion investment pledge for NC

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President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that his office has formally received five investment pledges from energy companies and energy component manufacturers, including a pledge of R16 billion for investment in the Northern Cape.

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PRESIDENT Cyril Ramaphosa, speaking at the fourth South Africa Investment Conference in Johannesburg, announced that his office has formally received five investment pledges from energy companies and energy component manufacturers, including a pledge of R16 billion for investment in the Northern Cape.

The pledge was received from Scatec, of Norway, and will be invested in solar PV and storage projects in the Province as part of the Risk Mitigation Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme.

At the same conference, African Development Bank (AfDB) president Dr Akinwumi Adesina said that the institution is ready to support South Africa’s transition from coal to renewable energy and announced that an energy transition facility was being created by the bank to support the country’s transition efforts.

The bank, which had previously supported the financing of Eskom’s Medupi coal-fired power station, was now ready to support the utility’s shift to renewable energy, as well as South Africa’s drive towards net-zero emissions.

“The African Development Bank, working in partnership with international partners, especially the G7 countries, plans to establish an energy transition facility that will support South Africa to raise at least R420 billion to support its energy transition into renewable energy. We will do it, Mr President, without South Africa getting into debt,” Adesina said, addressing Ramaphosa directly, but without providing specifics.

South Africa, he added, had the potential to be a global energy transition leader and deliver social and employment benefits in the process.

“If you move South Africa away from coal into renewable energy, it will reduce pollution and the negative externalities and impacts of carbon emissions on health and the environment.

“It is an excellent opportunity to recalibrate the southern African economy to generate thousands and thousands of green jobs and power new green industries for a more competitive economy.”

Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter said the energy transition, if implemented well, could provide an economic stimulus that could yield new industrial opportunities, together with 160 000 net additional jobs, including jobs for workers and communities.

Eskom estimates that some 68 000 MW of mostly new variable renewable-energy capacity would have to be added to cater for the 22 000 MW of coal that the utility would be retiring by about 2035, as well as to cater for any growth in demand.

Apart from the pledge towards projects in the Northern Cape, another four were made, including:

• R3 billion from African Rainbow Energy, which would be invested in several renewables projects arising from the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme and from embedded generation projects;

• R463 million from Bio2Watt, which is being invested in biogas facilities in Gauteng and the Western Cape;

• R437 million from Seraphim, of China, to produce solar photovoltaic (PV) cells and modules at special economic zones in Coega and East London, in the Eastern Cape; and

• R30 million by Polarium, of Sweden, to establish a production facility for lithium battery modules, in the Western Cape.

In his address, Ramaphosa highlighted the market reforms under way in the energy sector, which he described as the most extensive transformation in nearly a century, to help close an immediate supply deficit and boost long-term security of supply.

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