Electric Vehicle South Africa
(Getty Images)
  • Electric vehicle projects in Johannesburg and Nelson Mandela Bay have received funding from the UK government’s programme to combat climate change.
  • More than £3 million (R64 million) was recently awarded to ten South African projects.
  • For more articles, go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

A project aimed at readying Johannesburg for the arrival of electric vehicles (EVs) has been awarded funding from the United Kingdom (UK) as part of its global commitment to climate change mitigation initiatives.

Ten South African projects have been awarded more than £3 million (R64 million) as part of the funding programme.

Among them is a project to assure that all new buildings in Johannesburg are "net-zero carbon" by 2030, along with the programme to support EVs, particularly in the public transport sector.

The project – which will be implemented by non-profit organisation Sustainable Energy Africa (SEA) - involves municipal powers, the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) and the Department of Transport (DoT) .

SEA is proposing the conversion of minibus taxis and busses to electric power. Johannesburg’s sprawling public transport network – particularly the Rea Vaya bus rapid transit (BRT) system – is also a prime candidate for EV conversion, according to SEA.

But for Johannesburg to fully embrace EV technology, the city needs to fit bus stops, depots, garages, and parking lots with solar-powered charging stations. It also must upskill mechanics to work on EV systems.

UK funding will also be used to assist a project to electrify municipal fleets, which are being managed by the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) and the Low Carbon and Fuel Cells Centre of Excellence (CENEX).

The university’s e-Mobility Technology Innovation Programme, uYilo, has been lauded for its research on bi-directional charging and battery storage which will significantly lower EV reliance on the national grid.

“As host of COP26 [the UN Climate Change Conference] and a long-standing development, trade, and investment partner, I am delighted that we are launching this range of projects aimed at supporting green, resilient and inclusive economic growth in South Africa,” explained Nigel Casey, the British High Commissioner.

“The world is focusing on both climate and Covid-19 recovery and we want to support South Africa to be at the forefront of the movement to build back better.”

Other South African projects which have been awarded funding include:

  • Distilling the Just Energy Transition in SA: Harmonising Conflict and Seeking Opportunities implemented by the Trade & Industrial Policies Strategies (TIPS) institution, the National Labour and Economic Development Institute (NALEDI), Peta Wolpe and GroundWork.
  • Climate Transitions Protocol implemented by the National Business Initiative (NBI).
  • Building the Green Hydrogen Economy Just Energy Transition: Co-creating a Just Labour Transition through the TVET College System in SA. Implemented by the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA), TIPS, UCT Energy Research Centre, KPMG and Bambili Energy.
  • The Development of a Green Economy Cluster Organisation to Support Mpumalanga’s Role in the Validation, Implementation and Follow-on Research of the South African Renewable Energy Masterplan (SAREM). Implemented by Green Cape
  • Alternative Financing Models for Embedded Generation of Renewable Energy in South African Municipalities, implemented by Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI) Africa, Rebel Group and 3E.
  • Operationalising Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) in South Africa, implemented by the Carbon Trust and the Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA).
  • Driving the green agenda through aligning South Africa’s climate-related financial disclosure with global best practice, implemented by DNA Economics, the GreenHouse, Vivid Economics and WWF-SA.
  • Expanding the South African Green Finance Taxonomy and Embedding its use, implemented by NBI and Carbon Trust.

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