France and South Africa, facing climate change together
The development of a low emission energy sector, engine of sustainable growth is a strategic priority for the French Development Agency (AFD) in South Africa
A public financial institution active in more than 60 countries, the AFD is at the heart of the French public support and cooperation for the benefit of poor and emerging countries. It has been present in South Africa since 1994. In 2011, the AFD has developed three major strategic lines in the energy and climate change sectors, namely the expansion of partnerships with municipalities on climate change, the development of renewable energy projects in South Africa and the region as well as support the government and public sector in South Africa towards a green economy.
Municipalities. The AFD has provided a €6M loan to the municipality of eThekwini (Durban) for landfill gas to electricity project which is expected to save, over 12 years, the equivalent of 6.8 million tons of CO2. A second loan for investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency, principally in the water and public building sectors is currently under discussion with the municipality.
Banks and the private sector. The AFD is finalizing a credit facility of € 120 million for three financial institutions in South Africa dedicated to supporting energy efficiency and renewable energy investment in the industrial and commercial sectors.
Parastatals. In 2011 the AFD finalized, with a contribution of € 100 million, a partnership with ESKOM to co-finance its proposed 100MW wind farm in the Northern Cape. The Agency will also participate in the future development of a solar concentration plant of 100MW in the Northern Cape.
Public agencies and research institutions. The AFD has provided a technical assistance grant to the CEF, responsible for identifying and promoting energy efficiency projects and also supports the South African Carbon Capture and Storage Centre, and research teams of the DBSA.
In the Region. The AFD is active in Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia and Botswana where it supports renewable energy projects and hydropower, as well as regional integration, through grid interconnection projects such as the Caprivi Link Interconnector, between Zambia and Namibia, which was commissioned in November 2010.
French research is also active on the theme of climate change in South Africa
The Centre for International Cooperation in Agronomic Research for Development (CIRAD) and the University of Pretoria are working to minimize the impact of climate change. They are seeking innovative solutions such as diversification for small farms, which are particularly vulnerable to climate change. They also study the spread of parasites, insect vectors of human diseases, and invasive plants likely to affect biodiversity, and whose propagation modes are highly dependent on climate change.
France and South Africa have also established a joint research institute of oceanography (ICEMASA) based at the University of Cape Town, one of whose missions is to produce computer models of changes in the atmosphere and oceans to produce quantitative data on climate change and its impact on marine life. ICEMASA also organizes workshops and seminars for education. This project brings together the Department of Water and Environmental Affairs and the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the Centre for Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) and University of Cape Town from the South African side, the Institute of Research and Development (IRD), the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), and the universities of Brest and Montpellier from the French side.
The Alliances Françaises in Southern Africa pilot sustainable development
Launched by the Alliance Française of Port Elizabeth in October 2008 and expanded throughout the entire Alliance Française network, the Indalo ("nature" in Xhosa) project’s main objectives are reducing the carbon footprint of the Alliances and raising public awareness of environmental issues.
In this context, the Alliance Française of Durban launched a major project to adapt its premises and implement and eco-friendly model. This includes work on the sources and management of energy (solar panels, rainwater tanks) on the green spaces (native plants, vegetable garden) and recycling. COP 17 will mark the official launch of the project by the private and public partners that support and finance the initiative.
Students of Lycée Jules Verne in Johannesburg and the Ecoschool programme
The French School in Johannesburg, Lycée Jules Verne got the label "green flag" in 2010 as part of the South African program Ecoschool, an international project developed by WWF that provides schools with sustainable development projects related to school curricula. In 2011 the 75 teachers and 800 students participated in various activities: including planting native trees within the school grounds, creating a pond as a place of teaching practice and scientific observation on the evolution of amphibian animals and plants, a project studying the possibility of setting up tanks for rainwater collection.
Support for civil society
From the Civil Society Development Fund, the Embassy of France has funded several projects of South African NGOs to promote community participation in the operation and sustainable management of services such as access to water and energy, waste management or conservation of biodiversity. In partnership with the eThekwini Municipality (Durban), the association Mvula Trust has published "Raising Citizens’ Voice," a booklet regarding the water cycle and energy together with ideas to reduce consumption and help communities adapt to climate change.
French companies to help meet the challenges of South Africa
Preventing a Water Crisis
South Africa is facing serious challenges in the field of water, especially regarding the sustainability of resources (currently 98% of available resources are used), deteriorating infrastructure and lack of industrial equipment.
French companies such as Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies and GDF-Suez through Degremont and its technical partner, WSSA, work with their South African partners (municipalities, industries, mines) to construct and operate water treatment plants or desalination stations. Other companies such as Ingerop, SPC, Soletanche Bachy and Bureau Veritas provide technical expertise in advanced engineering, installation, construction or certification in transport infrastructure and water treatment.
Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies South Africa is also involved in the fight against the major problem posed by rising mineral acid levels in water by working with Mintek, combining the water treatment technologies of the French company and the treatment processes of acidic water of the public entity that specializes in mining research.
Participating in the renewable energy adventure
Renewable energy should account for nearly half of all new electricity generation capacity to be built by 2030 under the terms of South Africa’s Integrated Resource Plan 2010. Several French companies have offered their services in these areas (solar, wind and hydro-electricity): Soitec, Sechilienne Sidec, EDF Energies Nouvelles, Innowind, Coruscant, Schneider Electric, Tenesol, SolaireDirect. Many of these companies will participate in the call for projects of the South African Department of Energy launched in August 2011 and will accompany South Africa in its transformation to reduce energy dependence on coal which currently accounts for 93% of electricity produced in the country.
In partnership with the French national electricity company, EDF, and with the support of the South African authorities, Total launched a program of decentralized rural electrification by solar energy in 2002 at the Earth Summit in Johannesburg. It plans to supply electricity to 15,000 households, or 90 000 people, located in the central part of the province of KwaZulu-Natal, not connected to the electricity grid. This project was extended in 2007 to the Eastern Cape Province following an agreement with the South African Department of Energy.
The French company Alstom will fund a chair of excellence in the field of renewable energy at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, which will be inaugurated on 1 December 2011. Schneider Electric, in collaboration with the Vaal University of Technology (VUT) and the French Ministry of Education will open a vocational training centre in the fields of energy and electricity in March 2012.
Offering safe, low-carbon energy through nuclear technology
South Africa has confirmed its commitment to nuclear power in its plan for the electricity sector over 20 years. 78% of electricity in France comes from nuclear technology. The French companies that are already involved in the construction, operation and maintenance of the only nuclear power plant in South Africa and even the whole of Africa (Areva, Alstom and EDF in particular) stand by their South Africans counterparts in order to provide advanced technology and equipment. Regular exchanges between South African and French companies show the vitality of relations and highlight the shared understanding for the need to focus on safety.
Using energy more efficiently
South Africa is a heavy consumer of electricity. It has put in place measures to reduce demand: program management application by the electricity utility Eskom in collaboration with industry and households; laws tightening energy standards for new buildings which will come into force in November 2011. French companies are present in this sector through various projects and partnerships: supporting a pilot project to build a low energy school (Arcelor Mittal Construction), providing a tool to analyze the energy performance of buildings (Bureau Veritas), improving living conditions in public housing through the use of high performance materials (Lafarge), supplying equipment for detecting the presence of compensation for active energy (Legrand), supplying roof insulation elements produced entirely from recycled materials (Onduline ), providing integrated solutions for all types of buildings and industrial processes (Schneider Electric).
Facilitating travel and transport to limit air pollution
The development of rail transport has become a priority for the South African government. This is a major challenge for South Africa which will reduce the reliance on road transport. In addition to the participation of French companies Bouygues Construction, RATP Développement in the Gautrain project (linking Johannesburg CBD, OR Tambo International Airport and Pretoria), other companies such as Alstom, Thales, Faiveley, Vossloh Cogifer, Egis, Systra , SNCF, are ready to engage with PRASA and Transnet to the success of their plans for large-scale development.
Rising to the International climate challenge
The fight against deforestation
French climate proposals
Innovative financing and the G20
French side events at COP17
COP17 events at the Alliance Française of Durban