RENPOWER SOUTHERN AFRICA will highlight the evolution and ambitions taken by South Africa, Namibia, and Botswana to lead the just-energy transition as clean energy resources become predominant in the energy landscape.
For many years coal has been the main energy source in South Africa accounting for 80% of the country’s energy mix. However, to contribute to the energy transition, South Africa adopted the Integrated Resource Plan to set the ambitious target of 20 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2030 which will benefit the nation not only by decarbonizing its economy but also addressing major issues of power shortage which are counterproductive for the industry and country’s development.
Breaking down the numbers, South Africa plans to allocate at least 6 GW of large scale solar by 2030, planning for 1 gigawatt of solar per year allowing for solar to supply about 10% to its energy mix. With a bright future, wind power will represent the major bulk of 16 GW of generation capacity by the end of the decade. As a solution for the critical need of extra generation capacity, the government raised the licensing threshold for embedded generation projects from 1 MW to 100 MW, opening the doors for IPPs to compete in the market.Tapping into the nation’s renewable power potential will be crucial to create greater energy security, reduce costs, and generate local socioeconomic benefits for South Africa.
Neighboring Namibia and Botswana still rely on energy imports from South Africa, with Botswana importing over 800 MW of electricity in 2020 and about 40% of Namibia’s power comes from South Africa. To create a solution, Botswana adopted the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) to achieve 15% contribution of renewable energy by 2030 from the current 2%. In Namibia, one of the main goals of the Namibia Harambee Prosperity Plan II 2021 – 2025 (HPPII) is to increase local electricity generation capacity from 624 MW in 2020 to 879 MW by 2025.
The desire and need to move away from the traditional energy mix coupled with dependency on electricity imports, peak power challenges, as well as securing power supply and projected electricity demand, have led Namibia and Botswana to evolve their renewable energy goals by tapping into their own resources setting bold ambitions to lead the decarbonization and become renewable energy traders in the region.
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