Johannesburg, South Africa — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 12 December 2011 – Four leading renewable energy associations have announced their intention to launch an umbrella body to act as a single voice championing the importance and relevance of the renewable energy industry in South Africa.
This announcement comes in the wake of the Green Economy Accord recently concluded through a series of engagements among the government, business, labour and community at Nedlac. The accord envisages aggressively addressing climate change concerns and the need to grow the South African economy by simultaneously stimulating the green economy and creating green jobs.
“Creating a united voice for renewable energy custodians is imperative at this juncture in the development of the industry," said Pancho Ndebele, chairperson of the South African Solar Thermal Industry Association.
“Both private sector and NGOs have for many years been promoting renewable energy in an uncertain regulatory environment. These efforts were never fully coordinated and it took time to get to where we are today, on the verge of exponential growth in the broader renewable energy industry,” he added.
“As signatories to the Green Economy Accord we have now taken steps to discharge the obligations we have undertaken, one of which is the creation of an umbrella body,” Ndebele revealed.
The four proponent organisations have indicated that the umbrella body will provisionally be called the South African renewable energy council, and will act as custodian of an industry in which government has placed considerable attention and trust.
Other founding participants of the council council are the Sustainable Energy Society of Southern Africa (Sessa), the South African Photovoltaic Industry Association (Sapvia) and the South African Wind Energy Association (Sawea).
Mark Gordon, special adviser on climate change and energy in the Department of Environment, welcomed the initiative. “Institutional strengthening has emerged as a key challenge in building the renewable energy industry,” he said. “It is imperative that the renewable energy industry should be organised, involved and quick to react,” he added.
A steering committee has been established for the council and it will target financial and technical assistance from multi-lateral institutions. The South African renewable energy council is expected to be fully operational by mid-2012.