Energy Transition presents opportunities for investment

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Chief Operations Officer for the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), Joanne Bate, says although the Just Energy Transition is expected to bring challenges to businesses and society, it also presents “major opportunities” not only for bigger companies but also for SMMEs and for localisation.

Bate was addressing a breakaway session at the South Africa Investment Conference in Johannesburg on Thursday.

“We’re building potentially – if you look at [government’s JET] investment plan and the green hydrogen commercialisation strategy – 5GW of power for electricity per annum, 5GW of power for hydrogen per annum.

“That presents an amazing opportunity for localisation. What does localisation give us the opportunity for? Additional tax revenues and additional jobs to be created. There’s a lot that needs to be done in energy efficiency and in own generation.

“So… as the IDC, together with National Treasury and the banks, we are looking at schemes to accelerate own generation and the ability of small and medium sized enterprises to become self-sufficient and greener because both are important,” she said.

Bate said the IDC has development funds that are available to put into projects to “de-risk” or to back projects in their early stages.

“If we look at the scale of new industry opportunities that need to be created, there are other funds that need to be created, and there are other funds that will be needed for that early stage de-risking. The only gap that we have in really catalysing the green economy is access to those early development funds and partners.

“If we can progress those early stage industry development opportunities, the opportunities for new economic activity, new export revenue generation, new skills and jobs in our country that will continue to grow the economy and attract further funds into the economy will be absolutely available,” she said.

However, Bate said that an acceleration of investment in the economy is needed in order for these businesses to be fully able to take advantage of the opportunities that present themselves.

“The way we attract the balance of the funding is by delivering. We have a plan. We have projects we need to execute with rigour, speed and focus on the outcomes we want to achieve. We need to improve our integrated planning… to understand what needs to be done.

“If we can get this integrated planning together, we can execute with speed and rigour. We can demonstrate transparency in the measure of what is being achieved and if the plan can be executed and demonstrated, it will attract more funds,” Bate said. –