Mon. Apr 15th, 2024

South African Special Economic Zones (SEZ) are turning to natural gas and renewable energy to secure energy supply while improving operational efficiency. During a panel discussion at the Sustainable Infrastructure Development Symposium of South Africa (SIDSSA) in Cape Town on Tuesday, representatives from various SEZs across the country underscored the role gas and renewables have already begun to play.

Taking place on March 17-19 at the Century City Conference Center, SIDSSA brings together key stakeholders in South Africa and across the continent with the aim of driving infrastructure development. SIDSSA 2024 serves as a crucial platform for discussions and partnerships in the infrastructure investment landscape, with a focus on accelerating economic activity through strategic infrastructure plans. Energy Capital&Power – the leading investment platform for the African energy sector – is a media partner for this important platform. For more information, visit https://SIDSSA.org.za/.

With South Africa currently faced with an energy crisis, ensuring stability of supply has become a rising challenge for businesses across the country. SEZs are not exempt in this regard. According to Bheka Zulu, CEO, Tshwane Automotive SEZ, “This has led us to find innovative solutions…we are currently building a gas plant project – and solar. We still need to find more energy. Partnerships are key, because stakeholders can help us achieve this.”

Similarly, the Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone (RBIDZ) SEZ is also developing gas and renewable energy projects to enhance energy security while reducing reliance on the national electrical grid. Simthembile Mapu, Executive Manager: Business Development and Support at the RBIDZ SEZ, said “We have a gas to power plant and are also constructing a pipeline. We also have a wind farm.”

While renewables stand to support operational efficiency, baseload power provided by South Africa’s state utility Eskom remains imperative.

“We are talking about an intervention in renewable energy. Renewable energy is less about the base load. We can never downplay the role Eskom plays to make sure the baseload is taken care of. The issue of the lack of power is a major [challenge]. We need to sort out the issue of power supply in our country to support SEZ,” stated Themba Koza, Acting CEO, COEGA.

Strategically designated areas for targeted economic activities, South Africa’s SEZs are to accelerate industrialization in the country. Stieneke Jensma, COO: Industrial Zones Program, Industrial Development Corporation, explained that “Our mandate is to accelerate the development of SEZ. We started a program focusing on energy security, specifically regarding SEZ. The idea is to collaborate and to ensure that what we are delivering promotes industrialization.”  

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Energy Capital&Power.

About SIDSSA 2024:
SIDSSA 2024 is organized by the Investment and Infrastructure Office under the Presidency, in collaboration with the Association of African Exhibition Organizers. The National African Federation for the Building Industry joins as an association partner, while the Development Bank of Southern Africa is the official sponsor of the event.

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