South Africa’s clean energy market explodes

South Africa was the fastest-growing clean energy market within the G20 in terms of investments received in 2012, according to a report released yesterday by the Pew Charitable Trusts, an independent non-profit think tank.

Investments flowing into South Africa’s clean energy increased from less than $30 million in 2011 to $5.5 billion in 2012 showing the start of the state driven renewable energy independent power producer procurement programme.

In contrast the entire G20 experienced a 11 percent decline to $269 billion in clean energy investments compared to 2011. According to the Pew Charitable Trusts this partly due to curtailed incentive programs in a number of countries, among them Spain, Italy, and Germany. Even then the study showed asserted that the sector demonstrated resilience in 2012, registering a record 88 gigawatts of additional generating capacity.

The study said the global clean energy sector is undergoing geographic and technological shifts as new markets emerge and renewable capacity grows.

“Clean energy trends demonstrate the ongoing resilience of this emerging sector in the global economy,” said Phyllis Cuttino, director of Pew’s clean energy program. “South Africa is an example of a promising new and expanding market for clean energy investment. With its commitment to developing wind, solar, and other clean energy technologies, South Africa has become a cornerstone of clean energy development for the entire African continent.”

The study noted that South Africa, after lengthy delays in the initiation of national clean energy programs, witnessed explosive growth in 2012. Its solar sector attracted $4.3 billion in 2012, or 80 percent of the total clean energy investment. Another $1.1 billion went to the nation’s wind sector. Rapid investment growth positioned South Africa as the ninth-leading destination for clean energy investment, after being last in the G-20 in 2011. Clean energy investment in South Africa is likely to remain strong in coming years as the country implements its relatively new renewable energy tender program, which has initiated 28 projects already.

Among the Group of 20 nations, China reclaimed the top spot from the United States, attracting $65.1 billion, a 20 percent increase over 2011 and 30 percent of the total for the G-20. China established itself as the leader in attracting investment in wind, solar, and other renewables. It added 23 GW of clean energy generating capacity, bringing its total to 152 GW, the most of any nation.

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