KZN plan for green energy

2012-06-13 00:00

KWAZULU-NATAL is leading the way in exploiting alternative sources of energy.

The province is being positioned to become the first renewable energy hub in Africa through a private project involving the investment of over R7 billion over eight years.

A site has already been identified near the King Shaka International airport to develop the “renewable energy development (RED) hub” project. Details of the project emerged during budget speech of the MEC for Economic Development and Tourism, Mike Mabuyakhulu, yesterday.

He said that while the global economic outlook was gloomy,there was a lot that was positive going on in KZN, including a number of firsts. The renewable energy hub is an initiative by three German-based companies that are leaders in the field of renewable energy technology.

Universities and institutes from Berlin and Brandenberg in Germany are partnering with the University of KwaZulu- Natal, Anglo American Platinum and South Korean technology partners and investors.

Mabuyakhulu said the initiative was created through partnership with the eThekwini Municipality and supported by the provincial government.

More than 4 000 sustainable jobs would be created from 2016, with 2 100 additional project-related jobs during the first phase from 2012 to 2016.

Besides the techno-hub next to the airport, the project would have a research and development facility — the T.W. Kambule Academy for Renewable Energy ‘ and a 260 MWP hybrid renewable energy plant.

KZN will also be the first province to have an airport city in Africa as well the first on the African continent to have a hub for aircraft maintenance.

The developments around King Shaka Airport and the Dube Trade Port would stretch from Umhlanga to Ballito.

Infrastructural developments and an airport city, or “aerotropolis”, master plan had been worked out. Infrastructural developments planned including major roadworks and a R35 million sewer pipe linked to the Tongaat regional sewerage works.

The province is also leading the way in having a database on all the current capital investment projects in the province.

A total of 2 923 projects will be implemented within the next seven to 11 years with a total investment of over R566 billion.

Of these investments 66 projects are expected to come from the private sector as well as the R362 billion to fund them.

The province has been the first to set up a special investment team to see how best it can benefit from the president’s R9 billion job creation fund.

Mabuyakhulu claimed that KZN was the pioneer in devising an investment protocol on how to reduce red tape and speed up government approval for projects.

when opposition parties in the legislature expreseed criticism of the MEC’s glossy report, he said it was not about painting a rosy picture but showing what was going on in the province. The people of KZN must be able to dream better and there was a need to get rid of constant negativity, he said.

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