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Climate and Energy Cooperation

Denmark is an international frontrunner on fighting climate change. The Government has set out very ambitious targets of reducing national greenhouse gas emissions by 40 % in 2020 compared to 1990 and to obtain 50 % of electricity from wind by 2020. The long-term goals are to shift the entire energy system to renewable energy by 2035 and to phase out oil, gas and coal entirely by 2050.

Danish-South African cooperation on renewable energy and efficiency

South Africa has formulated very ambitious climate and energy policies and strategies with the objective of reducing the country's carbon emissions with 42 % by 2025, as pledged during COP15 in Copenhagen 2009. It is a strategic priority for Denmark to strengthen cooperation with South Africa in the area of renewable energy and energy efficiency, to assist South Africa to obtain its ambitious climate goals.

The cooperation between the two countries in this field, was initiated when a Memorandum of Understanding between the two Governments was signed 24 October 2011, during a visit of Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe to Denmark. The next step has been for the Danish Ministry of Climate, Energy and Buildings to jointly formulate a programme with the Government of South Africa (Department of Energy), on the provision of Danish technical assistance to contribute to the South African transition to a low carbon energy sector.

The Danish - South African cooperation has a special focus on supporting the South African introduction of renewable energy, including wind energy, and energy efficiency, as outlined in the South African energy policies (IRP2012). The funding for the assistance to South Africa comes from Denmark's "climate fast-start’ funds of DKK 1,2 billion (approximately ZAR 1,9 billion) which were committed in the Copenhagen Accord, agreed to at COP15 in 2009.

The new renewable energy and energy efficiency programme has a budget of DKK 40 million (approximately ZAR 65 million).

The programme has three components:

I. Technical assistance to the Department of Energy. Focus on support to policy and strategy development in the field of renewable energy and energy efficiency.
II. Further development of Wind Atlas, mapping of South African Wind ressources in Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Free State provinces. This component is carried out with the assistance of SANEDI, UNEP and local and Danish universities.
III. Technical assistance to ESKOM. Focus on the further integration of renewable energy on the grid, including strategic electricity planning.

The Programme  has been designed to ensure the transfer of Danish expertise in the field of renewable energy, particular wind energy, and energy efficiency. Thus the programme will to a large extend be based on technical cooperation agreements between Danish institutions with expertise in these fields and the South African relevant institutions.

Minister of Energy Dipuo Peters and Ambassador René Dinesen

The new programme was signed by Minister of Energy Dipuo Peters and Ambassador René Dinesen in the presence of the South African Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe and the Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, 4 March 2013 at the Union Buildings, in Pretoria.

To read more about the programme see the texts below. 

Programme objective and overview of components

Component 1: Technical assistance to the Department of


The objective of the component is to assist the Department of Energy (DoE) to develop comprehensive policies and strategies that contribute to the efficient introduction of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies.
Activities will be focused on achieving the following outputs:

  • Capacity built in DoE to address critical issues related to integration of renewable energy in national electricity supply
  • A revised White Paper on renewable energy is prepared
  • A National Climate Change Response White Paper implementation strategy for the power sector is completed by DoE
  • Support to a financial expert who can assist in developing and establishing the financial model of SARi (South African Renewable initiative).
  • Support for renewable energy training centre – SARETC
  • Capacity building activity supporting policy development and regulation in the field of Energy Efficiency including: 
    • Policy development on energy efficiency in existing buildings
    • Development of regulatory framework for smart meters 
    • Implementation of smart meter technology in public Buildings 
    • Analysis of energy demand initiatives in public buildings based on smart metering 
    • Capacity building of DoE staff on policy development for energy efficiency through twinning with Danish expertise
  • National Energy Efficiency Awareness Campaign Strategy.


Component 2: Further development of the Wind Atlas for South Africa

Further geographical expansion of the mapping of the South African wind resources, which the Danish Embassy has supported since 2009.
Activities will produce the following outputs:

  • A wind atlas including new measuring masts covering remaining areas of Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and parts of Free State Provinces
  • Continued metering from existing measuring masts established under WASA1 of SAWEP Phase 1
  • Mapping of potential as input to DoE for strategic energy planning purpose
  • Collaboration with Eskom on data for day-ahead and in-hour forecasts


Component 3: Technical assistance to Eskom

Technical assistance to Eskom to enhance the  internal capacity to address the challenges involved with integration of renewable energy in power supply.
Activities will produce the following outputs:

  • Integration and simulation of the renewable energy technologies outlined in the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP2010)
  • Integration and simulation of transmission as outlined in the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP2010)
  • Methodology for identifying strategic investments in transmission planning
  • Development of system planning in Eskom
  • Standards and guidelines for system operation with variable generation
  • Identification of flexibility and reserves for integrating variable generation
  • Development of fast track procedures for small projects in Grid Access Unit


Other joint activities in the field of renewable energy- and efficiency

An overview
Since the early 1990s Denmark has supported South Africa in the field of environment and energy.   Denmark has played an important role in assisting South Africa in developing the regulatory framework for the introduction of renewable energy. However, in line with the general development in the relations between South Africa and Denmark this cooperation has in recent years, focused more on a general cooperation and technical assistance and less on a traditional donor/recipient relationship.

Thus in 2009 a Declaration of Intent was signed between Denmark and South Africa regarding cooperation on environmental and energy issues. In October 2011 this declaration of Intent was upgraded through the signing of a MoU. 
Assisting Government of South Africa in introducing Smart meters in Public buildings
The project is a joint venture between the Department of Energy, Embassy of Denmark and the South African National Energy Development Institute (SANEDI). The project is funded by Denmark with a total budget of ZAR 650 000 equivalent to DKK 500 000. The project is a pilot study to install meters, prepared for energy savings and load control in one floor of the DoE building. The overall objective of the support is to demonstrate the business case for smart metering and building management systems in public buildings in South Africa. It is the immediate objective to provide measurement of energy consumed on a time interval basis at DoE and to develop a business case to justify investment for building management system and smart metering.

Also important, is to provide capacity building of DoE staff members involved in the project. Danish experts (EA Energy Analyses) are subcontracted for capacity building through providing direct exchange of experiences between organisations. Furthermore Danida B2B partners Natpower/Develco will carry out the work of installing the smart meters, etc.

To read more about the previous cooperation in the field of environment, climate and energy between Denmark and South Africa click here


Powered by wind


Large parts of South Africa's coastal, as well as various inland areas have an economically viable resource of wind energy. The scale and maturity of the global wind industry have made it a cost-competitive energy option, compared not just to other renewable technologies, but also to many fuel-based technologies. However, there is a need to inform about the benefits of wind energy in South Africa.

South Africa’s first online resource for wind power, Powered by Wind, has been launched by the South African Department of Energy in partnership with the Embassy of Denmark in South Africa. All information about the Powered by Wind campaign is available at We invite you to make full use of it.
The portal is aimed at South African businesses, NGOs, Government Departments, Wind project  developers as well as school children. It contains relevant information on South Africa’s wind energy sector while also dispelling common misperceptions and myths.

We have collected a few of the most asked questions for you to gain a quick and wind blowing overview. You can therefore consult the fact sheets below to get answers to questions such as:

  • How does it actually work?
  • Are windmills dangerous?
  • Do windmills have a negative environmental impact?
  • What's in it for the climate?
  • What about land use?
  • What about the birds?
  • Is wind energy financially sustainable?

The application of wind energy for electricity generation has come a long way and wind turbine theory and technology are well understood and commercialized. By making use of state of the art wind resource assessment methods, national, regional and local wind resource planning can be done and viable wind "hot spots" can be identified and developed.