Energy Policy in South Africa

Energy Policy in South Africa

Dossier: Energy Policy in South Africa

Energy paradox: intensification of fossil fuel usage with a simultaneous emphasis on low-carbon solutions.


2010 has been an eventful year in the energy policy sphere in South Africa.

The National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) approved steep electricity price increases to be implemented over the next three years. The public power utility Eskom was awarded a US$3bn loan by the World Bank to build the Medupi coal-fired power station, which along with the building of the Kusile power station, ties the country to the use of fossil fuel for the next few decades.

Furthermore, government is working on an Integrated Energy Plan (IEP) and Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), both of which will plot the long term energy future for the country. Government is also in the process of developing a climate change policy which is expected to detail the country’s approach to carbon constrained development.

This dossier sheds light on the current state of energy policy in South Africa. It examines three inter-related issues: the possibility of a low-carbon future, the great energy policy disconnect within government, and the prospects for renewable energy in South Africa.




The Great Energy Transformation: Why We Can’t Avoid a Low-Carbon Economy

December 6, 2010 - What may be a failure globally looks very different from what is happening within the national context. Practically speaking, most of the developed and emerging economies are having to grapple with the idea of a low-carbon economy in one way or the other. It is an ‘inconvenient truth’ staring them in the face. By Saliem Fakir more»

The Great Policy Disconnect

- December 6, 2010 - Various government departments and agencies are busy preparing policies, strategies and plans that directly and indirectly impact on the energy sector. The public power utility, Eskom, government agencies and industry have been adamant about the urgent need to take decisions that keep the lights on as demand for electricity threatens to exceed available supply. But there is much at stake in these decisions, which will affect the environmental and social quality of South Africa’s economic development, impacting on both present and future generations. By Gary Pienaar and Smita Nakhooda more»


Prospects for Renewable Energy in South Africa

- In 2008 worldwide investments in renewable energy electricity generation, excluding large hydro-electric power projects, exceeded investments in conventional generation (coal, gas and nuclear) for the first time . After more than a century of dependence on fossil fuel, the world has entered a new era. Why isn’t South Africa keeping up? By Hilton Trollip and Andrew Marquard more»

Add new comment