Global Alliance Africa helps solve South Africa’s energy crisis and achieve a ‘Just’ Energy Transition

Posted on: 16/01/2023

South Africa’s energy crisis is drawing closer to boiling point. As it stands, an estimated R1.2 trillion in investment is needed before 2035 to mitigate the impact of rolling blackouts, which sees R4 billion wiped from national revenue for each day it continues. With power outages lasting up to nine hours a day in some parts of the country, load shedding is having a significant impact on South Africa’s economic growth, which in turn has a domino effect on poverty and inequality.

To address this crisis, the President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, has called on the public, private and civil sectors, to undergo a Just Energy Transition – a process which aims to revolutionise the country’s energy sector, by replacing coal-based power plants with lower carbon technologies, all the while minimising the negative impact that energy production has on the wellbeing of nearby communities and wildlife.

The movement towards a Just Energy Transition emerges as South Africa witnesses a high-potential geographical area regarding the global movement in energy generation. This follows President Ramaphosa’s announcement of the easing of licensing regulations for the self-generation of electricity from 1 Megawatt (MW) to 100 MW, potentially releasing as much as 5,000 MW or more of renewable energy onto the grid by 2024. With its current energy crisis and the socio-economic impact of moving away from fossil fuel usage, it offers an excellent opportunity for collaboration, technology development, and social upliftment work to change the energy industry’s future.

To aid South Africa’s efforts aimed at achieving a Just Energy Transition, Global Alliance Africa, a six-year project funded by UK Aid and delivered by Innovate UK KTN is creating a Global Innovation Network (GIN) that seeks to facilitate the exchange of energy-related knowledge, resources, funding and opportunities between specialists and key stakeholders in South Africa, the UK, and the continent at large. Together, members of this network will advise on the current climate; debate various pathways to overcoming key energy-related obstacles; and collaborate on the development and execution of ‘needle-moving’ projects in the fields of green fuel, transition metals, export promotion, and enterprise development, with the potential to effect change within the industry.

National government’s focus on a Just Energy Transition comes as South Africa ranks among the top 20 highest emitters of greenhouse gases globally and accounts for nearly a third of all of Africa’s emissions, with global pressure mounting to introduce measures aimed at reducing the use of non-renewable energy sources and their contribution to climate change.

But achieving a Just Energy Transition will be no simple task, says Alana Kruger, Global Alliance Africa’s Knowledge Transfer Manager for South Africa. South Africa has a long history and reliance on non-renewable energy such as coal. To achieve a Just Energy Transition, we need to ensure that the communities that rely on these legacy industries are not left behind and ensure their inclusion in a sustainable and equitable manner. So, as much as this is about unlocking funding to develop renewable energy resources, it’s also about building trust and buy-in with local stakeholders.

To this end, Kruger adds that a key objective of the GIN will be to support the development of strong relations and partnerships between actors in South Africa and abroad. In doing so, Global Alliance Africa aims to enhance the movement of information, innovation and investment in the sector, with the ultimate goal of accelerating the development of sustainable solutions with the potential to solve South Africa’s energy crisis.

And if we can achieve this, then we’ll be helping to build a cleaner, safer environment for all, concludes Kruger.

About Global Alliance Africa

The Global Alliance Africa project is a six-year project funded by UK Aid through Innovate UK (GCRF) and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).

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This Innovate UK Global Alliance Africa 6-year (2019-2025) project funded by UK International Development aims to build new and stronger UK-African partnerships to maximise the creation of inclusive market access, funding and investment opportunities through innovation knowledge transfer between the UK, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa.


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