India has invited South Africa to invest in its renewable energy sector, and take advantage of skills transfer from the firms there.
"The South African government and the government of India have committed to cooperate in the fields of renewable energy," South African Energy Minister Dipuo Peters said at a renewable energy conference here jointly organised by the Indian High Commission and industry body CII.
The event was attended by major corporate houses in the sector in both the countries. Peters also highlighted South Africa's plans to increase reliance on renewable energy. "This commitment is captured in various Memorandums of Understanding at forums such as IBSA and BRICS," she added.
"We see a lot of cooperation in the conventional energy sector, but we need to extend this to the renewable energy sector as well," Indian High Commissioner Virendra Gupta said. He added that both the countries had similar plans for sustained economic growth to eradicate poverty.
"The investment climate as far as India is concerned on renewables follows a very open regime. We give a lot of incentives to anybody who is investing in particularly renewables," New and Renewables Energy Director General Gireesh Pradhan said.
"Our investment needs over the next five years has been estimated at over USD 500 billion, so we are looking for major investments," he said. Responding to a plea to help develop the renewable energy sector in South Africa as well, Tata Power South Africa Head Nandkishore Menon and Moser Baer Chairman Deepak Puri indicated their willingness to assist in transfer of technology.
"It will not be a one-night stand, it will be a marriage," Puri said. Thomas Garner, chief executive of Cennergi, cited the company as a joint venture between Tata and South African mining giant Exxaro which was assisting in social development by leveraging Indian technology at wind farms in two rural areas of South Africa.
Welcoming the offer of assistance from the Indian companies, Johan van den Berg of the South African wind Energy Association said he would impress on an umbrella body of the different renewable energy sectors in South Africa that is to be formed soon that it should take advantage of this.