US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland has lauded the partnership between South Africa and the US, which is expected to result in the US investing $1-billion in South Africa’s energy transition over the next few years.
Nuland was speaking during a visit to South African technology and research entity the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), where she toured its solar photovoltaic (PV) testing unit in Pretoria, on July 31. The facility tests the resilience and adaptability of solar panels for use in South Africa and other countries.
The facility forms part of the CSIR Microgrid Centre of Excellence which is aimed at addressing South Africa’s energy crisis.
Nuland posited that South Africa was on the brink of being a “leader” in Africa and globally in terms of the energy transition.
She acclaimed that the US was “very proud” to be a partner in this, including projects such as the solar PV testing facility, with these panels being installed all over South Africa. Moreover, Nuland said the solar panels were also starting to gain prevalence in the US, as the world transitioned away from fossil fuels and towards a greener future.
Nuland also highlighted that as facilities such as this, minigrids, and other elements of the just energy transition were developed, this presented an opportunity to assist small businesses to provide high-tech employment for the country’s people, especially young person- and women-owned businesses.
She outlined that, with South Africa’s well-known and considerable energy problem, and with the US investing heavily in the green transition, collaboration between the two was one of the “great strengths” of the US-South Africa partnership.
The visit stemmed from a partnership between the CSIR and Power Africa that led to the establishment of the Microgrid Centre of Excellence for future power systems on April 13.
Through this partnership, the CSIR and Power Africa, aim to identify, develop and implement solutions that support energy stakeholders with microgrid and smart grid technologies, enabling the advancement of renewable energy project development, increasing access to reliable and clean energy, and contributing to South Africa's just energy transition, energy access and energy security.