Reluctant Embrace: South Africa and Renewable Energy

  • David Fig


Renewable energy refers to sources of energy that are not finite, and therefore are theoretically constantly available. The chief sources include wind, sun, waves, geothermal energy (energy available from beneath the earth’s surface), tidal power, as well as energy derived from plant and agricultural sources (biomass, biogas and biofuels). Furthermore, it is possible to extract landfill gases from waste disposal facilities. All these sources are at different levels of research, development and commercialisation. Solar energy can be derived from photovoltaic cells (e.g. on rooftops) or from concentrating solar collectors (towers collecting sun rays deflected off a series of mirrors or heliostats, some using molten salt for power storage). This chapter will try and investigate the reasons for this slow uptake in renewable energy. It starts with an analysis of the country’s energy profile in order to inform the reader of current energy and electricity use (Sect. 2). Some time is then spent understanding the nature of South Africa’s current electricity crisis, and the pressures on government and the utility to deliver much more supply (Sect. 3). Existing policy on renewable energy will next be examined (Sect. 4), followed by a brief discussion on climate policy and an attempt at integrated energy planning (Sect. 4). From all the foregoing, the conclusion sets out to return to our initial question and provide a more consolidated understanding of why the country’s commitment to renewable energy remains limited.


Renewable Energy Industrial Policy African National Congress Energy Efficiency Programme Renewable Energy Policy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Environmental Evaluation UnitUniversity of Cape TownCape TownSouth Africa

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