UK Government to invest £56m in South African battery storage project
Theresa May has revealed that the UK Government will invest £56m into a South African battery storage project to help the nation bolster its renewable power generation output.
The contribution will be made to the $500m (£384m) Clean Technology Fund - a joint project from the World Bank, African Development Bank and South African Government, which aims to fast-track the region’s access to clean energy technologies.
In a statement released on Wednesday (29 August), Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said the scheme would “transform” South Africa’s energy system, bringing about a “climate revolution” as well as an economic boost for the nation.
Business Secretary Greg Clark said the UK Government’s move to invest in battery storage technology overseas mirrors the aims of its Industrial Strategy, which lists clean growth as one of the nation’s four ‘Grand Challenges’.
“Investing in research, developing the skills of tomorrow, and tackling the global threat of climate change are key commitments of this Government and are at the core of our modern Industrial Strategy,” Clark said.
“Science and innovation has no borders, with many of the best discoveries being international partnerships and collaborations. These initiatives will deepen our ties in these important areas with our African partners for years to come.”
During her three-day trip to Africa, the PM also unveiled a separate plan for a UK-Africa research collaboration focused on clean energy innovations, artificial intelligence (AI) and big data.
The announcements come just days after the South African Government released its long-awaited plan for power sector spending, which proposes the installation of 15GW of renewables projects by 2030. The strategy also outlines plans for no new nuclear capacity, 1GW of coal capacity and 8.1GW of natural gas capacity to be installed within the same timeframe.
Climate Finance Accelerator
As May’s African tour reached Nigeria this week, the PM also launched the next phase of the UK-Nigeria Climate Finance Accelerator.
The initiative matches governments, project developers and finance market stakeholders from Nigeria with experts in climate finance and green investments in London, enabling the exchange of expertise and advice.
Information traded will cover a range of sustainability topics, from increasing the country's renewable capacity to improving the resilience of food chains.
The next phase of the Accelerator project will also see £1.5m of UK funding poured into helping African researchers study the effects of climate change on their countries. Meanwhile, an undisclosed amount will be spent on nine Nigerian projects which aim to develop greater food security measures.
BEIS said in a statement that the decision to invest in Africa’s green economy was taken partly because the continent is set to be “disproportionately affected” by climate change, and was made to ensure the world meets the aims of the Paris Agreement.