The implementation of green technologies is an integral part of South Africa’s green economy, making the study released today bythe Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) both timely and important.
The study, The State of Green Technologies in South Africa, documents the green technologies currently used in South Africa. It also identifies gaps in and opportunities for the use of these technologies, and makes recommendations to promote the growth of green technologies.
While South Africa has enabling legislation, the study proposes better coordination between the various government departments involved, and more efficient systems with clearer targets to instil certainty in the market and make South Africa a leader in green technologies. South Africa’s uptake of green technologies is currently below that of its BRICS partners.
There has been progress in the energy sector. Energy-efficient technologies, renewable energy technologies and technologies to reduce the environmental impacts of coal are receiving attention, although more is needed. Major investments have been made in both the public and private sectors.
The study recommends that South Africa should play a role in developing green technologies, rather than merely implementing them. Priorities need to be set and niche areas identified. Government should see itself as more than an enabler of green technologies, and actively shape the market through sound investments in research and development, education and training, and market incentives.
Currently, the implementation of green technologies is subject to a long and cumbersome application process, involving multiple agencies, and there is a shortage of skills for processing applications. The study proposes that the government facilitate the process, enabling green innovation to flourish.
The study also recommends that South Africa’s need to create jobs, alleviate policy and transform society should inform green technology investment strategies, but not override other considerations. Government should encourage private sector and consumer-driven investments in green technologies, especially technologies that present opportunities for export to Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries or the rest of Africa.
While there is still much to be done, the Department of Environmental Affairs established the Green Fund as a vehicle to catalyse the transition to a green economy in South Africa. In the past 18 months, the Green Fund has disbursed more than 50% of its R1,1 billion allocation.
SOURCE: South African Official News