South Africa has faced issues with regards to energy
very recently (citation). So it
might be the right time to consider making reforms in the energy supply. The
government is fully responsible for the energy supply for the South African
citizens. Eskom is the only producer and supplier of electricity in South
Africa and it is a state owned corporation. Eskom is now producing its
electricity mainly by coals and as the demand for energy is increasing they
continue to open new coal fired power stations (citation). Renewables however seem to be left aside by Eskom.
South Africa has potential for instating renewables (citation), so opening new coal fired seems to be in direct
conflict with the sustainable development goal for clean energy. So it seems
that the government is not working on
renewables not used as of yet (cause)
There are several barriers and challenges that inhibit
deployment of Renewable energy and energy efficient projects for South African
municipalities. These barriers include: natural factors, economic and financial
factors, institutional and regulatory barriers, research and development
barriers, human resource barriers and infrastructural and social barriers. (Painuly,
2001; Junfeng et al, 2002; Fakir & Nicol, 2008; Mirza et al, 2009; Pegels,
2010; Edkins et al, 2010).
The degree to which municipalities experience these
challenges and barriers is usually to the size and location of the municipality
as well as the overall state of the financial and professional service support
frameworks that these municipalities rely on for the development of their
projects. Small and rural municipalities suffer a number of structural
operational issues that might inhibit their capacity to consider renewable
energy projects. Larger municipalities also face obstacles that impede their
ability to undertake renewable energy work. For example, a city facing a rapid
influx of migrants from other areas may have to address difficult issues of
service delivery prioritization. Thus the allocation of funding to immediate
fundamental needs, such as housing, may take priority over renewable energy and
energy efficiency projects.
Many barriers, such as the ones stated before, can be
overcome with a proper understanding of the constitutional powers and functions
of local government. The following chapter focusses on the legislative and
policy regime that backs up the implementation of renewable energy and energy
efficiency systems and projects.
policies that affect Renewable Energy in South Africa
There are national and provincial laws and policies,
but also local bylaws and policies which can impact renewable energy and energy
efficiency delivery in municipalities.
Schedules 4 and 5 of the Constitution of the Republic
of South Africa describe the Functional areas of concurrent national and
provincial legislative competence and Functional Areas of Exclusive Provincial
Legislative Competence respectively (https://www.gov.za/documents/constitution-republic-south-africa-1996-schedule-4-functional-areas-concurrent-national).
Part B of each of these schedules lists a number of
local government functions over which national and provincial government either
have concurrent jurisdiction in the case of Schedule 4, or provincial
government has exclusive jurisdiction in terms of Schedule 5. It is noteworthy
that electricity generation do not appear on either of the constitutional
schedules. This might be because the Constitution was drafted before the energy
crises of the present age.
For local government purposed, it is important to note
the following sections of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa.
(Parliament of the Republic of South Africa, 1996)
Section 152(1)(b) lists among the objects of local
government to ensure the provision of services to communities in a sustainable
Section 152(1)(d) lists among the objects of local
government the promotion of a safe and healthy environment
Section 153 requires that local government should be
Section 24 – which is part of the Bill of Rights –
entrenches the right to an environment which is not harmful to health and
well-being, and the right to require legislative and other measures which
promote ecologically sustainable development and use of resources.
Looking at these sections of the Constitution, it is
clear that it is a responsibility of local government to ensure that services
are provided in an ecologically sustainable manner. Thus reading these sections
together forms a sufficient basis from which to argue that renewable energy and
energy efficient interventions are a responsibility of the local government.
The National Environmental Management Act No. 107 of
The national Environmental Management Acot No. 107 of
1998 prescribes environmental management principles as being binding on organs
of state with regard to all their activities (reference). Some of these principles, which are set out in Section
2 of the Act, serve to justify a municipality making a conscious choice to
embark on renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. The following are
examples of the NEMA governance principles:
Section 2(3) requires that development must be
socially, environmentally and economically sustainable.
Section 2(4)(a) requires that pollution and
degradation of the environment are avoided.
Wherever new or replacement energy capacity is
created, municipalities should refer to these legal principles, and other
principles that are found in NEMA. This will guide the decision making to the
choice of renewable energy and enery efficient strategies and projects, rather
than continuing to use energy from non-renewable and polluting sources.
The National Energy Act No. 24 of 2008
The National Energy Act No. 24 of 2008 is the broad
policy-oriented statute that governs energy matters.
According to the Parliament of the Republic of South
Africa (2008), the following purposed are stated in the introduction of the act
‘…to ensure that diverse energy resources are
available in sustainable quantities and at affordable prices…’
‘…increased generation and consumption of renewable
It is clear that these phrases, which are contained in
national legislation, strongly favor renewable energy and energy efficient
initiatives. And they provide a mandate to all organs of state to pursue
renewable and efficient energy initiatives.
However, it does not provide ready solutions as to how
municipalities can achieve these mandates. Whilst national energy planning is
obviously done by the national government, there are no details to give
guidance to municipalities as to how to plan energy matters within their areas
of jurisdiction. Thus there is room for customized and innovative energy
planning at municipal level.
The Electricity Regulation Act No. 4 of 2006
According to the Parliament of the Republic of South
Africa (2006), the introduction to the The Electricity Regulation Act No. 4 of
2006 sets out its purposes as being to establish
a national regulatory framework for the electricity supply industry; to make
the National Energy Regulator the custodian and enforcer of the national
electricity regulatory framework; to provide for licenses and registration as
the manner in which generation, transmission, distribution, trading and the
import and export of electricity are regulated.
The powers of NERSA as the regulator are described in
the act. These powers include the processing of licensing applications and the
issuance of licenses. These licenses include the processing of licensing for
generation, transmission and distribution of electricity, import and export of
electricity and trading in electricity. The act also empowers NERSA to regulate
Section 8 of the act dealt with activities requiring
. (I) No person may, without a license issued by the
Regulator in accordance with
(a) operate any generation, transmission or
(b) import or export any electricity; or
(c) be involved in trading.
Section 7(2) of the act exempts schedule II activities
from licensing requirement. Schedule II activities are generation for own use
and generation which is non grid-connected. This is important for
municipalities, because a generation license would not be required if a
municipality were to establish a renewable energy facility which supplies only
local consumers and is not grid-connected. It would however still need a
license to distribute and trade in electricity.
In section 10 of the act the detailed conditions are
set out with regards to the submissions which must be made to NERSA as part of
the license application.
Powers and duties of licensees are determined by
Section 21 of the act. These include a prohibition on cession of a license, a
prohibition on discriminatory tariffs and restrictions on the circumstances
under which a license may terminate supply to his or her customers.
New generation capacity is governed by Section 34 of
the act. This is the provision of which the Renewable Energy Indepentent Power
Producer Procurement Propgramme (REIPPPP) (citation)
was established. It grants powers to the Minister of Energy to determine that
new generation capacity is needed and from what sources it must be generated.
There is nothing in the Act or its regulations that excludes a generation
license to be granted to a municipality. Some municiplaities hold generation
licenses, for example the city of Cape Town holds a generation license for its Steenbras
Damn Hydropower Facility (Citation)
Electricity regulations on new generation capacity
(2011) and the REIPPPP
Electricity regulations empower the Minister of Energy
to make decisions regarding the need for new generation capacity, including
from what sector it is to be derived: Eskom, another organ of state or
independent power producers (IPPs) (Electricity Regulation 6 of 2006). They
further empower the Minister of Energy to determine the form of an IPP
programme (Electricity Regulation 7 of 2006). It was under these regulations
that the current REIPPPP was established like mentioned in the previous
The REIPPPP is a programma in terms of which new RE
project developers respond to proposal calls issued by NERSA for the generation
of pre-determined quantities of RE, by submitting bids (citation). The
programme is for private sector participants only. It has facilitated the entry
How should that