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South Africa

Official Name:
Republic of South Africa

National Designated Entity

Type of organisation:
Dr. Henry Roman
Director, Environmental Services and Technology
+27 12 843 6434

Energy profile

South Africa (2014)

Energy profile
Energy profile
Extent of network

73% of its population has access to electricity.

Renewable energy potential

SolarSouth Africa has a good solar resources; direct normal irradiance averages over 7.0 kWh/m2/day in many areas of the country, particularly in areas with close access to the electricity grid, such as in the Northern Cape.WindWind energy potential is estimated to have between ‘modest’ to ‘abundant’ prospects. Average wind speeds at 10 metres range from 4-5 m/s for the majority of the coastal areas of the country, increasing to approximately 8 m/s in some mountainous regions.BiomassIn the longer term, around 9 to 16% of the total energy demand could be met by biomass. Potential energy sources include agricultural residues such as bagasse and cuttings from forestry operations, as well as dedicated energy crops (Jatropha, switch grass, triticale etc.). Household biogas digesters also have a large potential market share, and two landfill gas projects have recently been commissioned near Durban.Geothermal Geological conditions in South Africa generally preclude any large-scale geothermal resource discoveries, but with the recent energy crisis, new resources are becoming economically feasible.HydropowerSouth Africa has low average rainfall. Seasonal flow of the country’s rivers and frequent droughts or floods, limits opportunities for hydropower. The majority of the country’s hydropower resource is concentrated in 6,000 – 8,000 sites in the Eastern regions.Waste to energyA growing number of projects are being proposed for South Africa under the label of ‘Waste to Energy’ where waste (such as anatomical hospital wastes, bio-hazardous wastes, electronic scrap, municipal/ domestic and industrial waste, worn out tyres, solvents, plastics and sludge) is burned instead of coal.WaveWave energy has the potential to contribute 33 TWh per year by 2050, in conjunction with other, less-used renewable energy resources.

Energy framework

White Paper on the Energy Policy of the Republic of South Africa 1998Describes the government’s general policy for the supply and consumption of energy until, approximately, the year 2010. This policy sets out the path for development of renewable energy and improvement of energy efficiency with the ultimate goal of reaching a more sustainable energy mix, in order to achieve South Africa’s macro-economic goals. A successor to this policy was released in September 2009, and aims to overhaul the fiscal, legislative and regulatory regimes in the energy sector, to further promote renewable energy development, and reduce carbon emissions.White Paper on Renewable Energy 2003That lays the foundation for the widespread implementation of renewable energy and sets a target (currently not mandatory, only a policy objective) of 10,000 GWh of renewable energy contribution to final energy demand by 2013.Energy Efficiency Strategy of the Republic of South Africa 2005 Sets out a national target (currently not mandatory, only a policy objective) for energy efficiency improvement of 12% by 2015 and provides for a number of “enabling instruments”.Biofuels Industrial Strategy of the Republic of South Africa 2007Proposes the adoption of a 5 year pilot program to achieve a 2% penetration level of biofuels in the national liquid fuel supply. Also the utilization of certain crops for the production of biofuels, and excludes others on the grounds of food security. It recommends the use of a fuel levy exemption for biodiesel and bioethanol.South Africa's Renewable Energy Policy RoadmapsRenewable energy Roadmaps have been projected for electricity generation from wind, CSP and PV and for high and low SWH rollout programmes that reduce the demand for electricity. Six roadmaps were developed.National Cleaner Production Strategy 2004Seeks to “enable SA society and industry to develop its long term full potential by... adopting the principles of Cleaner Production... and promoting the practices of sustainable consumption.”In keeping with the new legislative and policy direction, South Africa has moved quickly to implement a comprehensive renewable energy procurement programme with a view to procuring the first 3,725 MW tranche of renewable energy contribution to the national energy mix as contained in the IRP, from Independent Power Producers.  The SA government is also in the process of implementing its own 200 MW Sere Wind Farm and is investigating the implementation of a 5 GW solar park.Unlocking South Africa's Green Growth Potential by the South African Renewables Initiative (SARi)Determine whether and how South Africa’s renewables ambitions could be substantially increased as part of its broader industrial and economic strategy. Introduces scenarios for renewable energy development.The 2008 Energy ActFocused on ensuring that diverse energy resources are available, in sustainable quantities and at affordable prices in support of economic growth and poverty alleviation. It further provides for energy planning, increased generation and consumption of renewable energies, contingency energy supply, and a variety of other measures to promote energy development.Energy Policies for Sustainable Development in South AfricaPublication presents profile of energy in South Africa, assess trends and analyse some options for the future. Presents a profile of energy and sustainable development in South Africa and uses modelling tools and indicators to assess future policy options for the country.National Response to South Africa's Electricity ShortagePolicy document published in 2008 by Department of Minerals and Energy. The plan includes work on the country's electricity distribution structure, and the fast-tracking of electricity projects by independent power producers. It also involves electricity co-generation projects between ESKOM and private industry, where the heat generated as a by-product of industrial processes, in sectors such as chemical processing, is captured to produce power. This can be used by the industries themselves or bought by ESKOM for the national grid.Integrated Energy Plan (IEP), 2003The IEP provides a framework in which specific energy policies, development decisions and energy supply trade-offs can be made on a project-by-project basis. Although the IEP recognises that SA is likely to be reliant on coal for at least the next 2 years as the predominant source of energy, it also recognises the potential and need to diversify energy supply. Integrated Resource Plan (IRP)In 2011, the South African Government put forward an Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) to help minimize greenhouse gas emissions related to fossil fuels and help boost job creation. The Department of Energy released the IRP 2010-2030, a 20-year capacity addition plan for the electricity sector, which set a target of 11.4 GW of renewables. After a round of public participation was conducted near the end of 2010, several changes were proposed and a second Policy Adjusted IRP was recommended and adopted by Cabinet in March 2011. This newly approved and updated IRP 2010, which forms a subset of the overall South African Energy Plan, calls for a total installed capacity of 17.8 GW of renewable energy and 42% of all new generation capacity developed up to 2030. More specifically, the IRP 2010 calls for 8,400 MW of wind and solar photovoltaic each, and 1,000 MW of concentrated solar thermal.  Excluding existing hydro this brings the renewable energy share of power supply to 9%. This is limited compared to the coal generation capacity, which will continue to make up about 60% of the generation fleet.The country has implemented a number of initiatives and instruments to help facilitate the achievement of these targets while simultaneously helping develop its green economy. These initiatives include the South African Renewables Initiative (SARI) and the South African Renewable Energy Council (SAREC), the creation of the Green Economy Accord - through the launch of the Country’s Green Economy Accord in November 2011, the Government has committed to procuring 3,725 MW of RE for the national grid by 2016 and to create at least 50,000 green jobs by 2020-, South Africa’s Green Economy Accord., the incorporation of green growth goals in the Industrial Action Plan (IPAP2), the introduction and revision of the Integrated Resources Plan in 2009 and 2010, and finally the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPP)South Africa’s Department of Energy award preferred bidder status to 17 projects under Round 3 of its Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPP). The successful projects, totalling 1,456 MW, comprised seven wind projects (787 MW); six solar PV projects (450 MW); two solar thermal (200 MW); and for the first time, one landfill gas and one biomass project (18 MW and 16.5 MW, respectively). The successful projects will enter into PPAs with state-owned utility Eskom and receive guaranteed payments for 20 years.

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