09 November 2010

Western Cape to go Green

Written by Robyn Ferrar, Posted in editorials

Western Cape to go Green

Western Cape Launches GreenCape Initiative
On Friday 6th November 2010, we attended the 5th Renewable Energy and Green Economy Conference at The River Club in Observatory.  There were an impressive number of people packed tightly into the large conference room, whereas back in 2005 it was but a handful - the numbers have doubled every year since.

The highlight of the Conference came early in the day with the unveiling of the GreenCape Initiative (www.green-cape.co.za).  Western Cape Minister of Finance, Economic Development & Tourism Alan Winde officially launched the initiative on Friday and emphasised the provincial government’s sense of urgency to go from "talk to action", and stated that the initiative had been mandated with the roll-out of a comprehensive green economy strategy.

The provincial government has provided R5-million to kick-start projects in the sector. "This initiative is supported by each and every member of the Cabinet, including the premier. We are building a new sector in this province, and from it, we will achieve significant growth and jobs" said Winde.

Still in its developmental phase, the primary goal of the GreenCape Initiative (GCI) is to promote the transition of the Western Cape economy to greater resource efficiency and a low-carbon future. The recently appointed CEO Dr Francios Du Plessis, outlined the immediate focus of the GCI:

  • Solar and Wind energy opportunities
  • Green Technology and research
  • Analysis of waste streams
  • Green procurement

He stated that the Western Cape had set itself a target to achieve a 15% shift to renewable energy generation by 2014, which had the potential to create 20 000 jobs and attract R45-billion worth of investment into the province over the next ten years.

To this end a long-term strategy needs to be developed, which has top spot on the new CEO’s To-Do List.  Other immediate challenges they face is how to develop local manufacturing opportunities and to facilitate the supply of the skills required for manufacturing, installation and servicing of renewable energy (RE) and green technologies.

One thing that may give them a helping hand is Monday’s rather timely launch of the national R20-billion tax incentive for industrial projects. (More info).  If they can get it right to weight the acceptance criteria for applications a little more towards green, all the better.

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