Government is key in driving and creating demand for the green economy in order to create opportunities and sustainable jobs. This was said by the Chief Director of Green Industries and Energy Efficiency at the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti), Mr Gerhard Fourie. He was speaking at the Green Economy Investment Dialogue hosted in East London yesterday.
The dialogue which was attended by key players in the industry, was aimed at giving stakeholders a brief overview of the Green Economy success projects, funding initiatives and government’s policy direction on various sectors of the green industry.
The biggest support that is played by the dti and other government departments in the green economy is to create demand in order to assist supply measures. This will lead to the demand of critical infrastructure programme that will bring and promote investments in different regions of the country, said Fourie.
Fourie added that the dti is working closely with the Department Environment Affairs to align the Industrialisation and Environmental policy objectives in order to achieve larger environmental benefits that are acceptable on both sides.
The first sector’s that we looked at to optimise alignment was, the steel and petro chemical sector. We often find that instead of re-investing in new equipment and processes within the sector itself, significant benefits can be achieved by optimising the value chain (for example increasing the recycling of scrap metal). We are also looking at diversifying the local sugar market and working with CSIR’s Energy Centre to identify and model electricity generation and transport fuel solution to support this diversification. The aim is to put together sugar diversity strategy within the next six months or so, he said.
Fourie said the need to diversify the sugar industry started when the prognosis indicated that in the long term the industry might face a decline in local demand and challenging export market.
Potentially the biggest industry that can also develop especially looking at the infrastructure demand is the electric car market. Investment in smarter electricity grids will be a pre-requisite for a future electric vehicle roll-out. These smart grids will provide opportunity for private investors in infrastructure but can also address local government revenue challenges. The integration of information and telecommunications technologies and the electricity sector can be lead to a significant new growth in these sectors added Fourie. The Chief Director of Green Industries and Energy Efficiency at the dti, Mr Gerhard Fourie addressing stakeholders in East London.
Source: Department of Trade and Industry