Boosting energy initiatives during Green Energy Week 2014

By Fenna Oldendörp

13/08/2014

As we see more and more wind turbines appearing all over the Eastern Cape Province, one is reminded of great progress made in renewable-energy initiatives in this province over the past couple of years. GIZ programmes have been playing a significant role in supporting the various renewable-energy and energy-efficiency projects in the Eastern Cape, while also working towards training South Africans to fill the jobs in this expanding sector.

In an effort to further assist the Province, the Skills for Green Jobs (S4GJ) programme supported the Eastern Cape Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEDEAT) to host the Green Energy Week in Uitenhage, just outside of Port Elizabeth, in the last week of July 2014. Over five days, various stakeholders from government, non-government organisations, industry and research institutions discussed and shared knowledge, opportunities and approaches in the energy sector at the Nelson Mandela Bay Science and Technology Centre.

In addition to a two-day career fair for local schools, S4GJ organised the fourth meeting of the Green Skills Forum together with the DEDEAT. This Forum was established last year to establish linkages between the growing renewable-energy sector and the training sector. The main focus of the meeting was how a multi-institutional green-skills research programme could be established to enhance knowledge building for the green economy and sustainable development in South Africa and the Eastern Cape Province in particular.

Thereafter the third Eastern Cape Energy Efficiency Conference took place, where 145 participants from industry and government institutions exchanged recent developments in the field and shared their positive outlooks for the Green Economy in South Africa. Mr Alistair McMaster from the DEDEAT emphasised the importance of German Development Cooperation in assisting the Province to achieve its energy goals: The S4GJ programme is not only supporting TVET colleges and government institutions with technical advice and training, but their involvement in the Green Skills Forum is also enhancing the province’s endeavours to move towards a green economy. In addition, GIZ’s Climate Support Programme (CSP) aims to implement energy-efficiency measures in government buildings through the VNAMA project, and the South African–German Energy (SAGEN) programme support to the Independent Power Producers’ Programme, are also making a big impact in the development of sustainable energy generation in the Eastern Cape Province.

 The energy week in Uitenhage offered a great platform for information sharing among a diversity of stakeholders and all the activities showed that a closer cooperation is necessary and possible in a provincial context.