In this part of our series Co-benefits Stories, Michelle Lingham. For this series, we have asked energy professionals that have participated in our trainings for their thoughts and experiences on co-benefits of renewable energy in their country.
“From a renewable energy perspective, South Africa has a favourable climate for renewable energy solutions on a domestic and industrial scale. Businesses are especially hard hit with power outages of long durations which affect production and efficiency negatively, which in turn lead to lower turnover and as a result retrenchments and job cuts.
By paying attention to the opportunity that renewable energy presents, we can train young people to become skilled artisans, technicians and installers who learn from a qualified and experienced platform of South Africans who are driving the initiatives for energy access, security and stability. Policies that encourage the use of clean technology, subsidies for installations as well as enforcing maintenance plans create jobs for the entire life cycle of the renewable energy system.
Operations and maintenance represent a large part of solar PV installations. There is no need for international companies to be involved if local companies are trained to maintain large scale installations, or small scale on the domestic front. Policy changes will discourage the use of fossil fuels, outdated training programmes and drive the narrative towards a newer, cleaner and more reliable electricity infrastructure with a focus on local expertise, training and job creation. The data gathered over the last 15 years clearly indicates that Eskom is failing at providing power to the nation. By removing them from the monopoly of power generation we can create jobs from clean technology and start to lift young people out of dire circumstances.”
Based on insights of the COBENEFITS research group, the Renewables Academy (RENAC) currently conducts trainings in Turkey, Kenya, South Africa and Mexico. Participants learn about co-benefits of renewable energy in climate change mitigation, tools to quantify and communicate social and economic opportunities and policies and instruments to mobilise them.