Congratulate all the Ministers in attendance
Members of the Executive Council
Mayors and Councillors
Private Sector partners
Ladies and gentlemen.
The Northern Cape province is greatly pleased to be part of this major innovative and skills development centre in the Renewable Energy Sector. I would like to first congratulate Minister of Higher Education and Training, Mr Blade Nzimande for this initiative, which is a testament to the strong collaboration among academia, the private sector, and government in the area of renewable energy.
Furthermore, this centre will undoubtedly support research, development and innovation in the energy sector, informing and influencing policy decisions and supporting human capital development.
To this end, we are confident that this significant milestone development will undoubtedly produce the necessary skills needed for the expansion of the “Green Economy”, thus giving promise to the steady positive transformation of the skills profile of the province and region in particular. We are also acutely aware that renewable energy presents numerous exciting investment prospects, including massive job creation opportunities.
For our country and province to successfully embark on the major renewable energy programme it will be necessary to train many more skilled people over the next few years so the involvement of FET Colleges, Universities and other institutions are essential. Such ground-breaking initiatives will ensure that the solar industry in the Northern Cape and the country would not lack skilled labour and the technological services required to support a steady economic growth in the sector.
On our part, we have engaged various stakeholders including the Energy and Water Sector Education and Training Authority to fund learners from the province to undergo accredited training programmes at the Central University of Technology in the Free State with the express purpose of transferring knowledge and expertise to contribute to developing the local solar industry. This will further assist us to close the skills gap along the clean energy value chain.
We have also recently undertaken a trip to Spain with the sole aim of partnering with successful countries on renewable energy and cooperative industrialisation model. Our visit was most beneficial within the context of the independent power producing initiatives and related activities in the province.
Programme Director, the Provincial Renewable Energy Strategy has been developed to unlock existing potential and to position the province to attract both local and foreign investment. As a province, we have abundant renewable energy sources and are best and strategically poised for renewable energy projects.
In terms of the strategy, we will become a net producer of renewable energy to the rest of the country by 2020. The Renewable Energy Independent Producers Procurement Programme, directed by the Department of Energy, has thus far approved 31 projects for the province. This means that we are well on our way to become the renewable energy hub.
On behalf of the government and the people of the Northern Cape province I want to reiterate our commitment to this project.
I thank you.
Issued by: Northern Cape Office of the Premier