Bank funds South Africa renewables program including hydro

The World Bank has approved a US$17.3 million program to advance renewable energy development, including small hydropower, in South Africa.

The bank board voted June 28 to establish policy, regulation, and institutional capacity to promote renewable energy market transformation.

The program is to support South Africa’s 2003 White Paper on Renewable Energy setting a target of 4 percent of demand met by 2013 from renewables including biomass, wind, solar, and small-scale hydropower sources. South Africa generates 75 percent of its electricity from coal, making it Africa’s largest producer of greenhouse gas emissions believed to contribute to global warming.

The program is being funded with US$6 million from the World Bank’s Global Environment Facility, US$2.3 million from the South Africa government, and US$9 million leveraged from the private sector. About US$6.4 million of the US$17.3 million is to go to renewable energy power generation, with the remainder devoted to commercial solar water heating.

Over four years, the program is to remove barriers and reduce implementation costs of renewable energy technologies to help mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.

South Africa’s Department of Minerals and Energy is responsible for implementing the program and has designated the Development Bank of Southern Africa its implementing agent. The Southern Africa bank also agreed in June to join three world utility companies in a program to develop pilot energy projects to provide basic electricity to African citizens. (HNN 6/14/07)

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