South Africa still gets most of its energy from coal, but in sunny Northern Cape province, a different electricity source is taking hold. Munyaradzi Makoni of the Thomson Reuters Foundation explores how thermal solar plants are affecting the region.
A few months ago, South Africa looked set to shackle itself to a cripplingly expensive fleet of Russian nuclear power stations. Overblown coal development was ongoing, and attempts to get private renewable power plants feeding into the grid were stalled due to state-aligned vested interests. By February, all that has changed, writes Leonie Joubert.
Cape Town is dealing with one of the biggest climate change-linked water crises to face a modern city. This should serve as our wake-up call: we must transition to a new, shared way of organising around increasingly stretched resources, writes Leonie Joubert.
Facing a drought that shows all too clearly the consequences of climate change, Cape Town has pledged to divest from fossil fuels. Its mayor is now suing for the right to buy renewable energy. Could this set the precedent for South African municipalities to move towards a cleaner, greener energy economy, asks Leonie Joubert?
Civil society has used many forms of activism to push for a transition to a greener electrical grid in South Africa. This year, they’ve taken their battle to the courts, winning two significant rulings. Leonie Joubert takes a look at the case to stop a new coal-fired mega-station north of Johannesburg.
When conventional forms of activism don’t reach the ears of a democratically elected government, the courts can provide a platform to hold the state accountable. A High Court ruling against the South African government’s efforts to buy in nuclear power is a case in point, writes Leonie Joubert.
Although mini electrical grids aren’t widely used in Southern Africa, a pilot project outside Cape Town is testing if these can be a financially sustainable off-grid way to address energy poverty here, writes Leonie Joubert.
The South African government’s renewable energy grid expansion has been outsourced to the private sector. A key part of this public-private partnership is that the companies assigned to do the ‘new build’ must also engage in much-needed community development work, writes Leonie Joubert.
The price of solar and wind energy has dropped so dramatically in South Africa (SA), it is now almost half the cost of coal electricity. So why is government’s new energy plan biased towards expensive nuclear plants, and leaving renewable sources as an afterthought? asks Leonie Joubert. If RE industrialisation doesn’t take off in SA, it will be slow across the rest of the subcontinent.