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South Africa: Biofuels strategy welcomed by industry

The local biofuels industry has welcomed last month’s approval and publication by Cabinet of a draft biofuels strategy, describing it as an “enormously positive step in the development of a local renewable fuel industry”.
“It is in the best long-term interests of South Africa, especially in terms of a larger market for all grain and oil seed producers and specifically the development of emerging producers,” said Biofuels Industry Development MD Fanie Brink in a statement this week.

A report back on the draft biofuels strategy is scheduled for May, before which the document will be clarified and fine-tuned during consultations with all role players.

This follows a Cabinet decision in December 2005 that a biofuels strategy be developed to create job opportunities, alleviate poverty and establish developing farmers in the commercial grain industry.

President Thabo Mbeki in February last year announced that the renewable fuels industry was one of the sectors identified for accelerated economic growth within the government’s Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative of South Africa.

The draft strategy proposes a 4,5% biofuels industry development in South Africa to achieve 75% of the country's renewable energy target of over a billion litres of biofuels by 2013.

Brink added that the strategy would put South Africa in a position to reduce its dependence on imported crude oil and to combat global warming.

“The proposed mandatory blending of biofuels with petroleum fuels to establish and develop a local market for biofuels is considered as being one of the most crucial components in the biofuels strategy and in line with international developments.” The biofuels industry had the potential to develop into a multibillion rand industry and could make a meaningful growth contribution towards a greater production driven economy, he concluded.

Additional information: Read the story at EngineeringNews
News date: 10/01/2007

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