RES4Med&Africa conference prioritizes innovation to boost South Africa’s renewable energy future

RES4Med&Africa takes to South Africa for the first time hosting a high-level workshop on how innovation and sustainability can boost new business opportunities for renewable energy in South Africa. Held in Cape Town, the workshop sees the participation of over 100 people from the private sector, government, international organizations, IFIs to discuss and align on most effective strategies to multiply and scale up renewable energy investments.

South Africa has taken strong leadership on renewables by introducing the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) in 2011. The program aims to install 17.8GW of renewable energy in South Africa by 2030 through a comprehensive competitive auction scheme for IPP renewable energy projects. The goal of the REIPPPP is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while reducing the country’s reliance on non-renewable energy sources such as nuclear energy and coal. REIPPPP also works to promote local manufacturing of materials used in the renewable energy sector.

The conference focuses on how innovation can boost the renewable energy sector even further, as a motor for new business and technological solutions that will accelerate growth across the African continent, both through business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-government (B2G) approaches. The conference is opened with an overview of the renewable energy context in Sub-Saharan Africa, zooming in on South Africa’s renewables’ landscape, as well as its challenges and opportunities. The future of renewables in South Africa is bright. Ambition, renewable energy sources and entrepreneurial talent are the key elements that will bring the country to the next level of competitiveness and success., says Antonio Cammisecra, President of RES4Med&Africa.

The discussion aims to display how innovation, sustainability and robust regulatory frameworks can be leveraged to enhance investments on renewable energy projects, and what next steps should be taken to get us there. “Innovation plays a fundamental role to enable an efficient integration of renewables in the power system, ensuring system reliability and cost savings. A recent storage tender announced by ESKOM shows that South Africa follows the right path to decarbonize its power system and achieve greater sustainability.”, adds Antonio Nodari, Managing Director of Pöyry Management Consulting.

The workshop comes at a time where South Africa enters a period of renewal within a growing continent, as underlined in a recent YPO speech by the country’s president, H.E. Cyril Ramaphosa. South Africa sees a new dawn for competitiveness in which it aims to spearhead greater efforts to attract investment, lead R&D, innovation and capacity building, ensure inclusive growth and foster sustainable business. The president highlighted the role of energy as one of the most important requirements for economic activity, and how governments should encourage innovation to fuel economic growth on a continuous basis for Africa to rise.

Within that spirit, the RES4Med&Africa event also offers the opportunity to scale up businesses and explore new investment opportunities. 8 start-ups operating in the RE sector with a special focus on sustainability pitch their businesses and innovative ideas to investors and venture capitalists as an opportunity to showcase South African entrepreneurship. Start-ups engage with large companies already present in the renewable energy sector in a real dialogue on innovation to capture novel ideas and learn about new business models to explore investment opportunities.

Building on RES4Med&Africa’s unique role as a public-private cooperation platform on renewables in Africa, the conference presents an ideal occasion for proactive dialogue on innovation as a catalyst to develop the vast potential of the South African’s renewables market together with local institutions, the most relevant stakeholders of the South African renewable energy sector and international companies within the RES4Med&Africa network.