Western Cape pins hopes on ‘green economy’ jobs
AN INCREASE in the number of jobs in the "green economy" of the Western Cape and SA would depend on a number of government-sponsored projects coming to fruition, according to Michael Mulcahy, project manager at provincial development agency Green Cape.
Western Cape MEC Alan Winde said yesterday employment opportunities in the Western Cape’s green economy were projected to grow 500% by 2020. The sector — which employed 3,000 people in 2010 — was projected to employ 12,000 by 2015, 16,000 by 2020 and 20,000 by 2025, he said.
Most jobs opportunities in the province should be created through the manufacturing of components for the renewable energy sector, said Mr Winde. He spoke during site visits to three companies that manufactured components for wind and solar farms and other renewable energy generation.
Mr Winde acknowledged that the development of a green economy in the Western Cape somewhat fed into proposals proposed in Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel’s New Growth Path that envisioned the creation of new areas of growth, including the green economy. "We take from national (government) what we can and use that. However, there are companies in the Western Cape that have been involved in this sector for 30 years already," he said.
He said the Western Cape provincial government had created Green Cape as a government-funded but industry-led agency tasked with unlocking the manufacturing and employment opportunities associated with the country’s drive to develop a green economy.
Green Cape and the Western Cape government were in talks with various stakeholders on the implementation of smart energy grids that would enable individual companies and households to install hybrid energy-generation systems and feed excess electricity into the power grid.
Mr Winde said moving into the green economy was vital for the province as, in the medium term, countries that imported its agricultural products, particularly Europe, would demand the drastic lowering of carbon emissions.
"It is not just a matter of trying to develop a green economy in the Western Cape, it is also of major concern for our other industries that export," he said.
Mr Winde said the provincial government, through its Economic Development Partnership, had commissioned a Synthesis Report that planned for a host of conditions for the development of the region’s green economy.
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