Renewables with pave the way forward for South Africa

11 May 2020 2 min. read
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South Africa’s renewable energy sector might just have the resilience to navigate the Covid-19 crisis, given that it was already on the rise and moving in the right direction prior to the outbreak. This is according to consulting firm Kearney.

This is amid an overall period of struggle in South Africa’s economy, as it looks to manage Covid-19 related disruption. The country has been downgraded into junk status in the Moody’s ratings recently, while estimates of its GDP growth have been revised downwards by analysts.

Some have blamed South Africa’s state owned energy distribution company Eskom for compounding economic pressure on the country, as it has faltered in its energy capacity and generation capabilities. Noting the impact that interrupted power supply can have on the economy, the government has been looking to develop a more reliable energy supply.

Amid the overhaul of the energy infrastructure, South Africa’s strategy has been to invest in sustainability to the greatest possible extent. Experts have suggested that the transition to sustainability amid its rebuilding process is a tremendous economic opportunity for South Africa.

Renewables with pave the way forward for South Africa

While the Covid-19 pandemic has caused significant economic disruption, Kearney partner Prashaen Reddy suggests that South Africa’s drive towards renewables is likely to remain just as strong. When the dust settles, the renewables sector is likely to become a driver of economic recovery. 

“When the COVID-19 pandemic starts slowing down, governments, public administrations and healthcare associations around the world will need to draw the right conclusions to protect us from any future outbreaks. Equally so, the renewables sector will play an important role in focusing on driving the country towards a green and sustainable economy,” said Reddy.

“One thing we cannot forget is that energy is here to stay,” he added. Reddy also explained how natural gas has a key role to play in South Africa’s transition to renewables, as it reduces the reliance on coal, while supporting the renewables sector, which is not yet ready to handle the substantial power demand.

“Gas has steadily displaced coal for baseload generation and has been integral to enabling the dramatic growth of intermittent renewable electricity sources, such as solar and wind,” he said.