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Monday, March 4, 2013

Denmark to help fund South African renewable energy


Denmark has committed to help South Africa meet its future goals of a low carbon economy and reducing the growth of greenhouse gases through the deployment of low carbon technologies in the country.

An agreement signed between the two governments on Monday will see Denmark providing financial support to South Africa to invest in wind based electricity generations while the Danish will also give technical support to Eskom to integrate renewable energy into the electricity supply.

While the full financial details of the agreement were not immediately available, Deputy President Kgalema Motlante told reporters in Pretoria that the contract will provide the much needed assistance as South Africa embarks in its clean technology trajectory.

It’s understood that the Danish International Development Assistance (DANIDA) will make available an interim grant of DKK40 million to South Africa. Some of the money will be used to further develop the Wind Atlas of South Africa (WASA2) in order for the country to pursue and invest in wind based electricity as opposed to power generation using fossil fuels.

Denmark, which hosted the United Nations climate change summit in 2010, has announced that by the end of this decade, it will produce a third of its energy from renewable sources - wind power and solar power in particular.

The Danish government has also, ambitiously, set a goal of running the entire country on renewables by 2050.

Motlanthe said trade relations between South Africa and Demark had not been reflective of the “good friendship” the two countries had been enjoying. Motlanthe hoped the energy agreement will further strengthen these trade relations between Pretoria and Copenhagen.

“We agree that there is a need to do more to strengthen our relations with the government of Denmark as our relations and friendship date back to the time of Apartheid,” he said.

The sentiments were echoed by Prime Minister of Denmark Helle Thorning-Schmidt, who told journalists before the signing ceremony at the Union Buildings that South Africa was a “strong partner” of Denmark.

“This is a tangible agreement as it will develop our countries in a new and greener way which is something very crucial for the future.”

Thorning-Schmidt said the government of Denmark last October launched what she called a new strategy for South Africa which aimed at oiling relations between the two countries.

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