Green energy key to infrastructure development in South Africa

President Cyril Ramaphosa says one of the key drivers of infrastructure development is green energy, which has the potential not only to drive industrialisation but to establish a whole new industrial reality.

The President was delivering the keynote address on the second day of the Sustainable Infrastructure Development Symposium South Africa (SIDSSA) hosted by the Presidency on Thursday.

President Ramaphosa said the Green Hydrogen Export special economic zone to be developed at Boegoebaai in the Northern Cape, with Sasol as an anchor investor, is a major step towards realising South Africa’s potential to be a global leader in green hydrogen.

“It points to a future where tens of gigawatts of renewable energy feed electrolysers at massive scale, producing the hydrogen power fuels of the future.

“We stand ready to be a major exporter in this market – to use hydrogen to rapidly decarbonise our existing industries, and attract industrial investment from across the globe seeking to meet new standards of green power in the production process,” President Ramaphosa said.

The statesman told the guests that the Boegoebaai SEZ will host mass-scale production, but will also source green hydrogen volumes from emerging players such as Mahlako, which is setting up the Prieska Power Reserve, and projects like it across the Northern Cape solar belt.

“This complements the Hydrogen Valley project being spearheaded by Anglo Platinum and Sasol’s partnership with the Gauteng Provincial Government to create decarbonised industrial power grids and supply lines for hydrogen-based green aviation fuel,” he said.

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SA’s water infrastructure

Government has established a National Water Programme Management Office, jointly owned by the Departments of Water and Sanitation and Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs.

The President said that the development and management of the country’s water infrastructure remains a critical area.

“We are strengthening the preparation and planning of municipal water infrastructure so it can access blended finance solutions positioned under the Infrastructure Fund.

“We are fast tracking the establishment of the National Water Resource Infrastructure Agency and the review of the Raw Water Pricing Strategy to ensure effective pricing and cost reflective tariffs,” President Ramaphosa said.

He reiterated that water is a valuable natural resource and it is necessary to sustain life, to grow food, to maintain human health, and to enable the growth of the economy.