Joanne Yawitch,
Deputy Director General
of Environmental Affairs,
SA Government
 
26 November 2009 – According to Joanne Yawitch, the Deputy Director General of Environmental Affairs, South African Government, $500-milliion should soon be released for a portfolio of low-carbon energy projects in South Africa.  The funds has been approved in October under the international Clean Technology Fund (CTF).

The CTF, which is administered by the World Bank group, has been created to support financing for programmes with the potential for long-term greenhouse gas emission savings.

South Africa presented its investment plan at a meeting in Washington DC in late October, and has proposed that the CTF co-finance plans to ensure that 4% of the country’s electricity requirements are generated using renewable energy by 2013 and to improve energy efficiency by 12% by 2015.

Investment plans have also been endorsed for Morocco, Egypt, Mexico and Turkey, and the CTF Trust Fund Committee will consider plans for Vietnam, the Philippines and Thailand, in early December.

The $500-million endorsed for South Africa is designed to leverage additional financing of about $1-billion from other bilateral and multilateral financiers, as well as from commercial banks.

The South Africa plan includes using CTF financing for:

  • The reduction of the high capital cost associated with the construction and operation of Eskom’s proposed 100-MW concentrated solar power project, planned for Upington in the Northern Cape.
  • The development of the first utility-scale wind power plant, consisting of a 100-MW Eskom wind farm in the Western Cape Province Wind Energy Facility.
  • Pioneering private sector wind projects of a further 100 MW and creating a robust pipeline of large-scale wind projects.
  • Supporting municipalities and the private sector in the deployment of solar water heaters (SWHs), with a target of achieving 50% of the South African government goal of converting one-million households from electric geysers to SWHs over five years.
  • Scaling up energy efficiency investments by catalysing the expansion of bank lending to the commercial and industrial sectors through lines of credit to commercial banks and addressing barriers to energy -efficiency investments.

Yawitch says that the first phase of South Africa investment proposal focuses on energy, but that work is also under way on a range of low-carbon transport initiatives.

South Africa is the world’s eleventh largest emitter of carbon dioxide (CO2) and its energy sector is the single largest source of CO2 emissions, with coal accounting for more than 90% of total emissions by fuel source.

The country will also insist that finance is central to any possible climate change deal that could emerge from the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, which is due to begin on December 7.

DDG for international cooperation Alf Wills says that South Africa and Africa will be seeking a deal that guarantees finance, technology and capacity building for developing countries seeking to adapt and to mitigate the impact of climate change.

Wills calculates that there will be a need for funding worth $400-billion by 2020, of which South Africa believes 25% should be set aside for adaptation.