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Accueil du site → Doctorat → Afrique du Sud → 2022 → Power struggles : An exploration of the contribution of renewable energy to sustainable development, decent work and the “just transition” through a case study of wind farm development outside Loeriesfontein, Northern Cape Province (2011-2020)

Stellenbosch University (2022)

Power struggles : An exploration of the contribution of renewable energy to sustainable development, decent work and the “just transition” through a case study of wind farm development outside Loeriesfontein, Northern Cape Province (2011-2020)

Malope, Boitumelo James

Titre : Power struggles : An exploration of the contribution of renewable energy to sustainable development, decent work and the “just transition” through a case study of wind farm development outside Loeriesfontein, Northern Cape Province (2011-2020)

Auteur : Malope, Boitumelo James

Université de soutenance : Stellenbosch University

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) 2022

Résumé partiel
Through a case study of the development of two linked wind farms outside Loeriesfontein, a small town in the Northern Cape Karoo, this dissertation explores the contribution of renewable energy to sustainable development, “decent work” and the “just transition” to a lowcarbon economy in South Africa. In considering how the just transition can be realised in Loeriesfontein and the wider Hantam Local Municipality, this dissertation draws on an understanding of sustainable development that rests on three non-negotiable moral imperatives : satisfying human needs, enhancing social equity and respecting environmental limits. It also locates the political struggles around the introduction of renewable energy into South Africa’s energy mix within an analysis of the Minerals-Energy-Complex (MEC) and the continued influence of this complex in South Africa’s political economy after the democratic transition of 1994. This dissertation thus broadens the focus on the plight of workers and their communities in the coal sector in current debates on the just transition, to include communities in the Northern Cape. This province is currently home to over half the projects in the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP). Since the introduction of the REIPPPP in 2011, studies have highlighted the programme’s potential for community development and job creation in the “host” communities located within a 50km radius from where renewable energy projects are constructed. However, there has been little research on actual developments within these sites and, as a result, the voices of the marginalised people living in these communities have been missing in the debates. My study utilised a case-study research design involving semi-structured in-depth interviews with key informants and former workers employed during the construction of the two wind farms, along with policy and documentary analysis, observation and primary data from a household survey. Main findings were the following. Firstly, the jobs created during the construction of the wind farms satisfied some but not all of the criteria of “decent work” : while wages and work conditions were generally better than those offered by other local employers, training opportunities were neglected. Furthermore, very few local workers could be absorbed into the workforce once the wind farms began operating. Company claims around the number of (short-term) jobs created were also misleading. Secondly, the community development projects initiated in terms of the REIPPPP’s local economic development scorecard were introduced in a piecemeal, top-down fashion and mired in local patronage politics.

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