Wind, Sun, Water: Indeed, it is all in South Africa to make the Cape State a leader in the field of stable energy supply when it comes to alternative energy. Despite the almost inexhaustible potential, the country suffers from chronic blackouts. Old transformers, theft of cables and a lack of regular maintenance make the situation even more difficult – they have so far slowed the commitment of many investors in the Cape.
Hardly any other country on the continent suffers from such poor CO2 balance as South Africa. But there is hope: At the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow in November, dozens of countries formed new coalitions to reduce climate-damaging emissions in the fight against global warming. In order to support South Africa’s exit from coal power generation, Germany wants to invest 700 million euros. These funds are part of a new energy partnership with South Africa, which Great Britain, the United States, France and the European Union have also joined.
US$8.5 billion (€7.5 billion) is to be provided to support the next five years, mostly in loans. “Our member companies are very interested in and welcome the planned actions,” says Matthias Bodenberg of the South African Chamber of Commerce in Johannesburg. He sees many opportunities and investment opportunities for German companies in the field of renewable energies. “For a few years now, electricity shortages and related problems have been on the agenda of our member companies,” Bodenberg complains. Billions of promised aid could be a catalyst.
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Sabine D’Alomo, regional head of Siemens, sees it similarly. And about the country’s chronic energy problems, she says, “There are technologies that can solve that.” It pins its hopes on the South African government’s program that has already started independent electricity producers in the field of alternative energies. “We are confident because we see this as an opportunity for South Africa to create jobs and also to use digital technologies to gain additional online capacity,” says Dall’Omo, who sees her company in good standing. Christoph Kanengeser of the German-African Business Association sees a huge need in the continent’s fast-growing economies, and is interested in creating a climate union with Africa.
Paradigm shift is necessary
“Increased entrepreneurial commitment on the part of German companies can help make African energy supplies innovative, sustainable and climate-friendly,” he says.
According to the IRENA scenario, South Africa could cover about 23 percent of its consumption with alternative energy sources by 2030. The International Energy Agency believes that it could account for nearly half of the growth in power generation in sub-Saharan Africa by 2040. .
A political paradigm shift is seen as necessary – and that’s not what it seems yet. Despite announcing billions in subsidies, South Africa’s Department of Energy is reluctant to abandon coal combustion. Bodenberg: “After all, it is about balancing employment in coal mining with ambitious climate goals to reduce CO2 emissions and a potential investment boom in renewable energy.”
The government wants to build planned coal-fired power plants
Even South Africa’s Minister of Mining and Energy, Gwede Mantachee, has publicly opposed pressure from “rich industrial nations” to get his country out of coal. He spoke in favor of maintaining the previously planned construction of coal-fired power plants with a capacity of up to 1,500 megawatts. Unlike President Cyril Ramaphosa, see No need to give up coal power generation It is also based on the search for gas and oil, criticized by environmentalists, in front of the Eastern Cape Province, a partnership with Lower Saxony.
After all, the first steps have already been taken with the announcement by the state-owned energy company Eskom that it will increase its capacity from renewable energies. Their share is currently less than ten percent. So far, the group has relied on nearly 80 percent of the coal that is abundant in the country, and its cuts will secure many jobs in the Cape State with the official unemployment rate just under 35 percent. The group – which has virtually run out of capacity – is currently trying to avoid nationwide blackouts in the event of electricity bottlenecks by specifically shutting down entire areas of the city. ‘Load Separation’ is the motto: Sharing the loads.
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