Imagine a prosperous future without load shedding where enough energy is supplied by an affordable energy system that catalyses a large-scale industrialisation programme. A system that injects new life and capital into South Africa's struggling rural towns. It's easy if we try.
Mark Swilling, Nthabiseng Mohlakoana, Merin Jacob, Ndamulelo Mararakanye, Bernard Bekker and HJ Vermeulen are with the Centre for Sustainability Transitions and Centre for Sustainable and Renewable Energy Studies at Stellenbosch University.
The publication of the list of preferred bidders for the Risk Mitigation IPP Procurement Programme (RMIPPPP), the subsequent opening of Bid Window 5 by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) and the recent presidential announcement about the new 100MW limit for self-generated licence-exempt renewables has focused attention on the accelerated construction of renewable energy generation in South Africa.
This brings the procurement of renewable energy from Bid Window 1 to Bid Window 5 to a total of 9GW, with a further potential procurement of 1.8GW from the RMIPPPP. Although this may not be as much as civil society groups, industry associations, research organisations and even Eskom may have wanted, the total of 10.8GW renewable energy, ie 24% of capacity currently installed in South Africa, does...