South Africa

COBENEFITS Studies in South Africa


COBENEFITS Policy Reports

The Pol­i­cy Report com­piles key find­ings from our assess­ments and for­mu­lates pol­i­cy actions to har­ness the social and eco­nom­ic co-ben­e­fits of renewables.


More on South Africa

Main study results

The stud­ies show how the imple­men­ta­tion of renew­able ener­gy resources can have a pos­i­tive impact on con­sumer sav­ings, health, job cre­ation and eco­nom­ic prosperity.

Con­sumer sav­ings
South Africa has a tremen­dous poten­tial for rooftop solar PV. In the met­ro­pol­i­tan munic­i­pal­i­ties alone, rooftop solar PV has an eco­nom­ic poten­tial of 15 GW between now and 2030. But not only does solar ener­gy rev­o­lu­tionise the ener­gy sys­tem, it also affects the con­sumer sav­ings pos­i­tive­ly. South African house­holds and busi­ness­es can save mon­ey by invest­ing in solar: annu­al sav­ings for the res­i­den­tial sec­tor alone sum up to around R12.8 billion.

In South Africa, up to 44 mil­lion peo­ple are exposed to air pol­lu­tion from coal pow­er plants. Health costs relat­ed to coal emis­sions will peak in 2022, at up to R45 bil­lion in that year alone. As many as 2080 pre­ma­ture deaths annu­al­ly were pre­dict­ed due to air pol­lu­tion from pow­er plants in South Africa. Health costs can be reduced sig­nif­i­cant­ly by increas­ing the share of renew­ables. In absolute terms, up to R12.7 bil­lion (upper esti­mate) and at least R3.8 bil­lion (low­er esti­mate) will be unbur­dened from health costs by the year 2035.

Job cre­ation
South Africa has an abun­dance of renew­able ener­gy resources. This opens up new oppor­tu­ni­ties for cur­rent coal sec­tor employ­ees and oth­er job seek­ers. South Africa can sig­nif­i­cant­ly boost employ­ment by increas­ing the share of renew­ables. Employ­ment can be expect­ed to increase by an addi­tion­al 40 % in the peri­od 2018 to 2030, account­ing for 580,000 job years.

Eco­nom­ic pros­per­i­ty for mar­gin­alised com­mu­ni­ties
South Africa’s renew­able ener­gy pro­cure­ment pol­i­cy is glob­al­ly unique as it focuss­es on projects that are pri­mar­i­ly locat­ed in rur­al com­mu­ni­ties, fre­quent­ly cat­e­gorised as “mar­gin­alised com­mu­ni­ties”. These mar­gin­alised com­mu­ni­ties can ben­e­fit regard­ing socio-eco­nom­ic devel­op­ment and enter­prise devel­op­ment. Until the year 2050, 10 000 local jobs can be cre­at­ed in mar­gin­alised com­mu­ni­ties. In the same time frame, more than 3000 local enter­pris­es in mar­gin­alised com­mu­ni­ties can be sup­port­ed. These devel­op­ments would have an impact on edu­ca­tion: Up to 30 000 indi­vid­u­als in mar­gin­alised com­mu­ni­ties could ben­e­fit from access to edu­ca­tion-relat­ed programmes.



COBENEFITS Council Members in South Africa

  • Depart­ment of Envi­ron­men­tal Affairs (DEA)
  • Depart­ment of Ener­gy (DoE)
  • Depart­ment of Trade and Indus­try (DTI)
  • Depart­ment of Sci­ence and Tech­nolo­gies (DST)
  • IPP Office


COBENEFITS Focal Point in South Africa

The Pre­to­ria-based Coun­cil for Sci­en­tif­ic and Indus­tri­al Research’s (CSIR) Ener­gy Cen­tre (EC) was estab­lished in 2014 with the aim of pro­vid­ing sci­ence-based out­puts that help South African deci­sion-mak­ers in pol­i­tics, busi­ness and sci­ence to nav­i­gate the ener­gy tran­si­tion. This tran­si­tion is a move towards a more sus­tain­able and clean­er ener­gy sys­tem and will ulti­mate­ly lead to ener­gy being used more effi­cient­ly and gen­er­at­ed by a sig­nif­i­cant share of renew­ables in the pri­ma­ry ener­gy sup­ply. The CSIR’s Ener­gy Cen­tre will also lever­age the lessons learned from the South African ener­gy tran­si­tion to sup­port the cre­ation of sus­tain­able ener­gy sys­tems for oth­er African countries.

Mak­ing renew­ables a suc­cess for the peo­ple in South Africa, enabling a just tran­si­tion and recov­er­ing from the impacts of COVID-19: The video presents key find­ings from assess­ments on co-ben­e­fits of renew­ables for health, con­sumer sav­ings, employ­ment, and eco­nom­ic pros­per­i­ty for mar­gin­alised com­mu­ni­ties in South Africa.



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