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New South African government agency devotes itself to clean energy

A central energy body was formally opened in South Africa to assist the government in tackling the country's energy issues.

The South African National Energy Development Institute, or Sanedi, will focus on matching the region's increasing energy needs with projects involving smart grids, energy efficiency, green transport, alternative fuels and advanced fossil fuels.

"With global energy demand on the increase, coupled with the depletion of our natural resources and the negative impact of fossil-based energy sources on the environment, the issues [of] clean, sustainable energy and the importance thereof in economic development and global well-being have become a pressing reality worldwide," said the new agency.

The new energy body will assist the country in moving toward a low-carbon economy, as the country is among the highest carbon emitters globally, said energy minister Dipuo Peters during the launch.

Sanedi, initiated by the South African National Energy Research Institute and the National Energy Efficiency Agency, will also be accountable for green energy studies whose results will be used as bases for government policies and strategic energy schemes.

It integrates six state-supported schemes such as the South African Center for Carbon Capture and Storage, Working for Energy, the Green Transport Programme, the Renewable Energy center of Research and Development, the Energy Efficiency Programme and the South African Smart Grid Initiative.

The minister believes the new state entity will help the Africa transition from being the "darkest continent at night."

She urged the government to start the initiative to become more energy-efficient since it "spends a lot of money on electricity."

Despite South Africa's goal to look for alternative energy sources, it will not totally veer away from coal.

"We will continue using coal for the next 100 years and we will use anything that is cost effective and affordable for South Africans. We will use everything possible to ensure security of supply," said the Minister.

On the other hand, Sanedi chief executive Kevin Nas said "the establishment of Sanedi will assist the green economy and job creation," among others.

"We also need to develop solutions for sustainable development in the future. South Africa needs to be a pioneer of innovation." – C. Dominguez

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