Angela Merkel encourages SA to look at renewable energy

Germany's Angela Merkel with President Cyril Ramaphosa at a media briefing in Pretoria. (News24)
Germany's Angela Merkel with President Cyril Ramaphosa at a media briefing in Pretoria. (News24)
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel has encouraged South Africa to look beyond its existing power generators and expand into natural gasses.

Merkel spoke at a media briefing hosted by President Cyril Ramaphosa at the Union Buildings on Thursday. 

The German stateswoman was currently on a two-day state visit to South Africa. Her visit comes at a time when South Africa's sluggish economy is hamstrung by failing state-owned enterprises and an inability by the government to enact urgent policy reforms.

Merkel said her engagement with Ramaphosa included discussions around the energy crisis in the country.

Speaking in German, Merkel said her country supports South Africa in its efforts to examine the use of energy renewables and using renewables in a sustainable way.

She added that in Germany, due to mitigation and adaptation, the country is reducing its CO2 emissions.

Germany's end game is to exit coal-fired energy electricity generation by 2035 and be solely dependent on renewable power generation.

It's South Africa's second largest trade partner with over 600 companies located on South African shores.

Ramaphosa is hoping to increase this to further his R1.2 trillion investment drive.

In the past Ramaphosa promised to expedite the issuing of renewable energy producers' licences because the country needs to procure additional capacity urgently.

This after mining companies and business players complained of being at the mercy of Eskom, demanding to self-generate their own power.

'More and more renewables will be playing a key role'

"We had really extensive and very informative discussions on energy, and the chancellor was able to share the German experience of how they have been able to move away from coal power stations and getting to renewables.

"As we move forward, more and more renewables will be playing a key role. This has also been given a huge boost by the decision we have taken that we can now use self-generation. Companies can generate their own energy as well as cities, towns. That is going to lead to the growth of renewables."

He added that he also learnt from Germany's experience in the transition from coal-fired energy to renewable energy.

"We are dealing with a process of having to look at what a just transition means from our old mine power stations. How are we going to ensure that workers, communities where those stations are, are given a just transition."

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