Andre de Ruyter, the CEO of South African state owned electricity utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd has revealed the utility’s ambitions to facilitate South Africa’s reindustrialisation through its green energy transition plan.
Speaking at the the Dr Hendrik Johannes van der Bijl Memorial Lecture during a virtual event hosted by the University of Pretoria, de Ruyter painted a greener picture for Africa’s top greenhouse gas emitter.
The Eskom boss said the utility could drive the green industrialisation of South Africa by transitioning to renewable energy, and promote demand for locally manufactured green goods such as renewable energy equipment, and electric vehicles (EVs).
“Emulating the Motor Industry Development Programme, now known as the Automotive Production and Development Programme, for the production of components for renewable energy, will enable South Africa to use its own demand for new generation to catalyse a new industry,” said de Ruyter.
“This therefore is the moment for South Africa to seize the opportunity to rebuild its industrial base by pivoting to a cleaner and greener future,” he added.
Green reindustrialisation could reduce SA’s emissions
Eskom’s transition to greener energy could significantly reduce South Africa’s carbon emissions and help the nation meet its nationally determined contributions (NDCs) as required by the Paris Agreement. The utility is currently in discussions with international development finance institutions (DFIs) to attract about R150 billion in finance for its renewable energy transition strategy.
“Our economy, on a per capita basis, is 25% more carbon-intensive than China, and double the global average. South Africa emits roughly half the total carbon emitted by the African continent, and Eskom emits about 44% of the total South African carbon emissions. We therefore cannot ignore our carbon footprint. In addition, the world is penalising heavy carbon emitters,” de Ruyter concluded.
South Africa’s localisation policy for renewable energy could also catalyse green reindustrialisation. Project developers for utility scale renewable energy projects under the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) are required to source 40% of their components locally.