In this part of our series Co-benefits Stories, Noxolo Kabane tells how renewables create an opportunity for clean, affordable and sustainable energy in South Africa. For this series, we have asked energy professionals that have participated in our trainings for their thoughts and experiences on co-benefits of renewable energy in their country.
“According to my observation of what is happening in my country, the economic, political and social co-benefits would increase the chances of renewable energy projects. Currently, South Africa is experiencing a lot of challenges when it comes to energy production because “mainstream” energy supply and reserves are not coping with the demand. I think this is an opportune time for the country to bring renewable energy onto the grid because of the energy security that renewable energy can unlock. Secondly, households would have an opportunity of accessing clean, affordable and sustainable energy.
The unemployment rate in South Africa is currently sitting at 30.1%. Therefore, with the increase in renewable energy projects, more jobs can be created. There is also an opportunity of skilling young people to be entrepreneurs in the sector. I have seen the benefits of the iShack Project that is being implemented in Cape Town which is a large-scale energy service that provides pay-for-use solar electricity service to residents of informal settlements. This initiative has provided households with a sustainable alternative to access energy. Residents in other informal settlements have even called on the government to provide them with the same or similar energy sources because they saw that the benefits outweigh the disadvantages. As you can see from this example, the installation of renewable energy has created agency and resilience amongst communities.“
Based on insights of the COBENEFITS research group, the Renewables Academy (RENAC) currently conducts trainings in Turkey, Kenya, South Africa and Mexico. Participants learn about co-benefits of renewable energy in climate change mitigation, tools to quantify and communicate social and economic opportunities and policies and instruments to mobilise them.