The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) late last month signed a €275,000 grant agreement with the French public development bank, Agence Française de Développement (AFD), to facilitate further development of South Africa’s just energy transition goals.

The partnership will support the development of a holistic cost-benefit analysis study on the repurposing of two coal power plants, as well as the examination of the localisation potential and enterprise development opportunities of both the solar PV and battery storage value chain. It will contribute to the efforts of ensuring that adequate provision is made to uphold the “just” element of the “just transition,” considering the closure of coal power stations and the development of renewable energy projects.

“It gives me great pleasure that we are here discussing elements of what the CSIR ought to be doing to contribute to South Africa’s journey towards the just energy transition. We are appreciative of the collaboration with AFD,” said Dr Bethuel Sehlapelo, executive cluster manager of CSIR Smart Places.

Enabling evidence-based policy design

“The work of the CSIR will generate the necessary insight to enable evidence-based policy design, especially as it relates to re-industrialisation potential, as well as the implementation and scaling of territorial transformation. The work that the CSIR is doing will be a source of inspiration for other countries with similar challenges,” says Philippe Orliange, executive director for countries at AFD.

The Just Energy Transition Programme (JETP) – between South Africa and a consortium consisting of France, Germany, the UK, the US and the European Union – will set a precedent for how countries can work together to accelerate the transition to green energy and technology. The COP 26 pledge is expected to prevent between 1-1.5 gigatonnes of emissions over the next 20 years, support South Africa’s move away from coal, and accelerate its transition to a low-emission, climate-resilient economy.


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