The study commissioned by the Secretariat of the Energy Partnership at Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH found a high level of energy-related research cooperation – with around 20 South African institutions actively engaged with 32 German partner institutions. However, it also showed that opportunities for further collaboration remained – by involving more institutions and by including more areas of research.
German and South African experts discussed the findings at an event hosted by the Energy Partnership Secretariat on 22 November 2017, at CSIR Knowledge Commons in Pretoria.
Mr. Tobias Zeller, Head of the Secretariat said: "This vivid energy-related research collaboration shows an important aspect of the Energy Partnership between our two countries. Furthermore, the national, provincial and local governments, state owned enterprises and last but not least the private sector from South Africa and Germany cooperate manifold to make the global transition to an environmentally sound, secure and reliable as well as affordable and cost-effective energy system a reality."
Mr. Klaus Streicher, deputy head of mission at the German Embassy, said: “Germany has decided to fundamentally alter its energy supply: away from nuclear energy and fossil fuels and towards renewable energy. By 2025, at least 40 to 45 % of our energy is to be sourced from renewable energy, and we want to raise this to at least 80% by 2050. We have already achieved a great deal: Today, almost one third of our electricity comes from wind, solar and biomass. This makes renewables our number-one source of electricity. Without the great success and new inventions of our research institutions this would not have been possible.”
According to Streicher, the German Federal Government in the year 2016 issued approximately 876 million Euro (~15 billion Rand) in subsidies for research and innovation in the field of energy, of which 190 million went into energy efficiency in buildings, districts, industry and commercial and service sector and 260 million EUR into solar PV and wind power alone. An important cornerstone of these support programmes was to trigger cooperation between science and industry. But of course, the mitigation of climate change and the transition to sustainable energy systems is a global challenge. Insofar, the cooperation between researchers and industry from different countries plays and will play an increasing role in the future.
Mr Streicher said he hoped the study’s findings would encourage more collaboration, support for technical innovations and capacity building among South African researchers.
You can download the study here.