Published on June 30, the ‘South African Energy Risk Report 2020’ also argues that clean energy could be an active driver of the country’s economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, especially if policy and regulation is changed to be more supportive of new business models for the delivery of infrastructure in a context of weak public finances.
The report argues that the opportunities associated with embracing the transition include:
a reduction in South Africa’s carbon emissions and power-station pollution;
increased benefication of minerals associated with the energy transition, such as battery minerals;
the localisation of energy value chains, including green hydrogen production, that leverage the country’s solar, wind and human capital resources;
improved economic growth and job creation;
the repositioning of South Africa as a leader in new and emerging markets;
an aligned and coordinated policy framework that promotes broad-based national strategies; and
improved investor confidence due to a clear vision and aligned policy.
She cautioned, however, that this “new gold rush” would have to be carefully managed if it was to deliver maximum national benefit, as well as ensure a just transition.
If the uncertainties listed in the report – which ranged from inappropriate policies and corruption, to price volatility and a lack of skills – were not managed, economic growth would remain weak, while energy demand would not be met.