Business Day (Johannesburg)

South Africa: World Summit Venues to Use Environmentally Friendly Power

Johannesburg — In keeping with the theme of the summit, venues will make use of electricity from renewable energy resources

FOUR of the main venues to be used during the World Summit on Sustainable Development which starts in August in Johannesburg the Sandton Convention Centre, the Hilton Hotel in Rosebank, the Expo Centre at Nasrec and the Ubuntu Village will be making use of "green electricity".

Although this is to cost the venues up to 35% more than conventional electricity, their extra costs will be repaid by donors in the "green electricity" sector.

Green power is generated from renewable, sustainable energy resources. This is seen as more environmentally friendly than coal or nuclear power and commonly used in the UK, Australia, Germany and the US.

This power can be generated from wind, solar energy, certain types of plants or heat from the core of the earth.

At the moment less than a percent of electricity in SA could be called "green", but this is expected to change after the summit, according to a green energy service company, Agama.

Agama project leader Glyn Morris said negotiations on future tariffs for green electricity in SA would be thrashed out with the National Electricity Regulator at the summit.

"It will be a chance to experiment with the development of a green tariff, possibly a shadow tariff, that is not legally binding.

"While there is as yet no mechanism for trading green electricity in a regulated market in southern Africa, a likely mechanism is green power certificates certified and monitored by the National Electricity Regulator," Morris said.

The higher cost of green power has to do with it being a new technology with few users. The higher tariff also represents the "full" cost of the product, which unlike coal and nuclear power, is not subsidised by outside bodies.

Health hazards and research are costs associated with conventional electricity, said Morris.

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