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South Africa Considers Including Denmark, The Netherlands In $8.5B Climate Fund

South Africa will soon decide whether to include Denmark and the Netherlands in the $8.5-billion agreement with developed economies to help the African country through the energy transition, a spokesman for the president told Bloomberg on Wednesday.

“The matter will be tabled before cabinet and thereafter a decision will be communicated,” Vincent Magwenya, spokesman of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa told Bloomberg, without elaborating further on the issue. 

In June, the leaders of the Netherlands, Denmark, and South Africa signed an agreement with the intention to launch a new ‘SA-H2’ blended finance fund to facilitate and accelerate the development of a green hydrogen sector and circular economy in South Africa.

Early this year, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen said that the United States supports South Africa’s transition to cleaner energy and would help mobilize financing from the private sector to assist the coal-dependent country. 

The U.S., the UK, France, Germany, and the EU are mobilizing an initial $8.5 billion to catalyze the first phase of South Africa’s Just Energy Transition (JET) Investment Plan as part of a long-term Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP) signed in 2021.

“The financial package of $8.5 billion is a substantial down payment. Importantly, it is designed to mobilize additional money from the private sector and philanthropies, and I will meet with representatives from both groups later today,” Secretary Yellen said in January this year. 

Currently, coal is by far the major energy source for South Africa, accounting for around 80 percent of the country’s energy mix. The country is also the world’s fifth-largest coal exporter.

But South Africa is going through a major energy crisis with daily rolling power cuts, which cripple the economy, as state firm Eskom has failed to boost generation capacity to keep pace with growing demand in recent years.  

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Under the just transition plan, South Africa will invest in job retraining and reskilling, cash payments to support displaced workers while they find new employment, and redevelopment of former coal mines and coal power plants as clean energy production sites.  

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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