South Africa’s energy future

There’s a seismic shift underway in how we generate power, which will be helped by the wheeling of clean energy to customers across the grid. But, for one reason or another, plans have now stalled.

26 April 2022

Crispian Olver, Presidential Climate Commission

Ask any datacentre company about their plans to become carbon-neutral, and they’ll all tell you they’re working on it. And that’s all they’ll say, at least for the present. They’re also facing an uphill battle in securing more renewable energy as municipalities grapple with the complexities of supplying them with clean power. This is proving to be a sticking point, and it’s holding back billions of rands in investment.

It’s not hard to see the case for renewable energy. It’s much cheaper. Eskom’s blended rate, at which it offers customers renewable energy, is now at about R1.50 per kilowatt hour. Municipalities, meanwhile, are charging between R2.70 and R3 per kilowatt hour. Solar PV is now being tendered at under 40c, according to the last round of bidding at the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Programme (REIPPP). Renewable energy also offers security of supply, which is tenuous in South Africa. A third reason to pursue renewables is that large locally listed companies, particularly those with international investment, now have sustainability and carbon targets in place.

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