US ambassador praises SA’s renewables programme

South Africa has a world-class renewable energy programme, thanks in part to its innovative energy policy that has facilitated the development of projects that are commercially competitive with plants using traditional fuels.
These are the words of the US ambassador to South Africa, Patrick Gaspard at the launch of a partnership between the US Embassy in Pretoria, the South African department of environmental affairs, the CSIR and Connect4Climate to further promote awareness around renewables.

“I am proud that US firms are the biggest investors in the renewables sector; if South Africa continues to pursue its policy to expand the number of wind and solar projects, we expect that significant new foreign investments will come in, prices for the consumer will continue to improve and significant new jobs will be created in the sector,” he said.

Much of the country’s renewables success has been as the result of the highly successful renewable energy independent power producer procurement (REIPPP) programme.

The CSIR says solar photovoltaic and wind energy are 40% less expensive than baseload coal-fired power stations, providing economic benefits to the entire South African economy.

“Yet despite this programme’s success, the overwhelming majority of South Africans remain unaware of what has been achieved through renewable energy and how this impacts their lives. This is a recurring challenge that renewable energy communications and marketing industries, in particular, are countering.”

“South Africa is one of few countries that has the potential to stand at the forefront of developing and deploying the world’s 21st century energy technology, and we look forward to working with leaders in the renewable energy sector who are paving the way,”Gaspard added.