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Southern Africa energy ministers to mull renewables research hub

As countries battle blackouts.
Energy ministers from the Southern African Development Community will discuss plans for a renewable-energy research centre as countries throughout the region battle chronic blackouts.

The centre will focus on “practical implementation” of clean-energy technologies, Wolsey Barnard, deputy director- general for energy programmes at South Africa’s Department of Energy, said Tuesday in Johannesburg. Its start date, budget and location will be part of the discussion, he said.

SADC’s 15 member states suffer electricity shortages because generation falls short of demand and grid capacity is limited. Some including South Africa, whose five-round programme of clean-energy tenders has awarded more than 5,000 megawatts of projects since 2011, are now looking to renewables to help plug the gap.

The United Nations Industrial Development Organization and the Austrian Development Agency will provide funding to the centre for its first three years.

©2015 Bloomberg News

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