Energy Catalyst Round 8 Brokerage Visit to South Africa

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South Africa


Cape Town & Johannesburg, tbc

South Africa

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As the second largest economy in Africa, with a population of over 58 million, South Africa’s energy resources are a crucial issue.

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1.1bn people globally have no access to modern energy provision and a further 1bn have only intermittent access. Innovate UK’s Energy Catalyst programme aims to support businesses to develop innovative, sustainable energy technologies and business models to accelerate clean energy transition in developing and emerging economies. A key focus is to address the clean energy access challenge in Sub-Saharan Africa and South/South East Asia.

Energy Catalyst Round 8 will launch in June 2020 and is likely to follow similar scope and eligibility to Round 7 which had an early, mid and late stream. These brokerage visits form part of the collaboration-building to enable businesses to develop equitable partnerships between the UK and overseas organisations.

Energy Catalyst is currently funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) and Department for International Development (DfID) as part of their Transforming Energy Access programme who have invested more than £60m.


The key objectives of the international brokerage trips are to help organisations applying for the Energy Catalyst Round 8 to gain an understanding of the energy access issues in Sub-Saharan Africa and South/South East Asia and find links to potential partners who would be interested in submitting an Energy Catalyst Application.

Indicative list of 2020 GCRF missions: Ghana, Malawi, Nepal, Nigeria, Rwanda, S. Africa, Senegal, Togo, Uganda, Vietnam, Zambia.

There are three key parts to the visit:

• Getting Ready: Pre-visit briefing to provide background information on the market and training on how to improve your business and technology pitch for in-country brokering. Hints and tips session on applying to Innovate UK.

• The Visit: Access to NGOs, local businesses, academics and governments who will be able to provide information about local opportunities. They may also become potential partners to apply into Energy Catalyst Round 8.

• Exploiting the opportunity: Companies will work with a designated advisor throughout a structured programme encompassing three main phases.


As the second largest economy in Africa, with a population of over 58 million, South Africa’s energy resources are a crucial issue in South Africa. Estimated to be one of the 15 largest emitters of CO2 worldwide, South Africa’s dependency on coal, representing 59% of its total primary energy supply. South Africa Energy resources have lacked diversity, but governmental initiatives welcoming Public-Private partnership have made South Africa presently rated as the 12th most attractive investment for renewable energy. The Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) has led to investments valued at 201.8 billion SA rand. (Sources: &


• South Africa’s national grid provides access to 85% of South Africans but suffers from capacity and connection constraints, which are a barrier to the economy and the development of renewable energy.

• South Africa’s New Household Electrification Strategy, initiated by the Department of Energy in 2011, states that although a 90% electrified target is possible, the rest will have to be offgrid.

• South Africa currently has an aging transmission grid infrastructure and there are challenges associated with grid congestion and increasing grid connection costs.

• Despite high levels of connection, issues of affordability and informality thwart delivery of energy services in the country.

• The Eastern Cape (64.5%) and Kwazulu Natal (67.0%) have the lowest grid connection rates in South Africa, and the South African National Energy Development Institute (SANEDI) estimates that more than 3 million people in rural areas of South Africa are without access to electricity.

• South Africa is an energy intensive and growing economy which means that current energy challenges are likely to increase.

• Expectations of grid connection and quality of service are high within South Africa, including amongst those who are not yet connected to the grid.

• Currently, only 9% of South Africa’s 45GW of generating capacity is renewable (86% coal). South Africa has a target to increase renewable energy generation from 4GW to 13.225 GW by 2025, and cap emissions at 600MT CO2 by 2025 (current levels are 400MT CO2).



To qualify, organisations must be interested in applying for Energy Catalyst Round 8. They must also be working within technology that addresses all three areas of the energy trilemma and aiming to increase energy access in Sub-Saharan Africa or South Asia. They must also fall into one of the categories below.

• UK-based micro or SME business (given priority)

• Research technology organisation (RTO)

• Academic organisation

• Charity

• Public sector organisation

This programme employs the De Minimis exemption regulation (public support with a limit of €200,000 or £172,000). Eligibility is also subject to financial checks.

Companies that have joined previous GCRF missions may only apply if they can demonstrate:

• A positive impact of their previous participation in applying for the Energy Catalyst Round 7

• Clear additional benefit and impact through the application process

The maximum number of GCRF missions an organisation can attend is two.


• Pitching to S. African companies and organisations to find potential partners

• Group meetings with key industry players to help understand the energy landscape and energy access issues

• Group site visits and potential links to local companies, renewable energy plants and villages that use outstanding renewable energy technologies

• Pre-mission workshop in London on Wednesday 19 February 2020 providing market information and pitching training

• Your organisation’s profile in the mission brochure

• In-market help and advice


Sat 29 Feb 2020 - Depart London Heathrow

Sun 01 Mar 2020 - Arrive Cape Town

Mon 2 Mar 2020 – Wed 4 Mar 2020 - Activities to include: briefings, B2B meetings, networking reception, pitching sessions, meetings with key industry players, NGOs and academia, site and township visits.

Flight to Johannesburg

Thu 5 Mar 2020 – Fri 6 Mar 2020 - Activities to include: briefings, B2B meetings, pitching sessions, meetings with government, key industry players, NGOs and academia, site and township visits.

Sat 7 Mar 2020 Arrive London Heathrow

A more detailed programme will be provided if your application is successful.


On acceptance to the mission, a commitment fee of £500 will be taken from you. This will be returned on completion of the mission and feedback form.

Non-attendance after formal acceptance will result in forfeit of the commitment fee.


This visit is part of GCRF. For approved organisations, Innovate UK will fund flights, five nights’ accommodation, in-country transport and group meals.

GCRF does not cover travel and health insurance for the mission. This must be obtained individually.

The National Travel Health Network and Centre and WHO recommend the following vaccinations for South Africa: hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, cholera, yellow fever, rabies and tetanus. You will need to contact your GP or travel nurse to find out whether your existing vaccinations are up-to-date and whether you require additional ones.


It is a competitive process. Places are limited and applications will be evaluated by a panel of experts from the organisers. You will be notified of the outcome by Monday 20 January 2020.


For more information on the Energy Catalyst Round 8, please contact:

Alice Goodbrook, Innovation Lead – Energy, Innovate UK, T: +44 (0)782 6513 670, E: or Dr Nicola Lazenby, Innovation Lead – Energy, Innovate UK, T: +44 (0) 7342 088736, E:

For any additional information related to the mission, please contact: Vanessa Vlotides, Head of International Business team, London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, T: +44 (0)20 7203 1838, E:

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