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Nelson Mandela University (2022)

The regulation of renewable energy in South Africa

Van Huyssteen, Cornelis Roelof

Titre : The regulation of renewable energy in South Africa

Auteur : Van Huyssteen, Cornelis Roelof

Université de soutenance : Nelson Mandela University

Grade : Doctor Legum 2022

As a developing country, South Africa’s demand for electricity is accelerating in order to facilitate economic growth and provide the necessary basic services to its people. Historically, the South African government has primarily opted to cater for the country’s electricity needs by means of coal as an affordable fossil fuel-based energy source. However, amidst the world’s changing climate and the plummeting costs of renewable energy technologies, there is increasing global pressure to phase out the use of fossil fuels as the key contributor to anthropogenic climate change and to move towards renewables as the world’s main source of energy. The primary problem highlighted in this thesis is the fact that South Africa’s energy laws have been developed to accommodate fossil fuels as the main source of energy, effectively neglecting the need to incorporate provisions that support and regulate the renewable energy sector. The thesis argues for the need for South Africa to transition away from fossil-fuel and nuclear based energy solutions based on the potential of renewables not only to improve energy security, but also to contribute towards social, economic, and environmental development. However, the transition to renewables and the realisation of its associated benefits will only be realised by means of a regulatory framework dedicated to the development of the renewable energy sector. The researcher argues that, in their current form, South African laws and policies limits the growth of the renewable energy sector. In order to propose reform and to develop the law to support renewable energy sufficiently, the thesis explores international law as well as global best practice in the United Kingdom and Germany related to renewable energy regulation. The comparative analysis allows the researcher to make recommendations to inform the development of South Africa’s renewable energy legal framework. It is argued that, given South Africa’s status as a developing country, such reform must be based upon the fundamental principles of climate change mitigation and social development. Ultimately, it is submitted that, a law dedicated to renewable energy can, and must, play an imperative role in realising the concept of sustainable development in South Africa.

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Page publiée le 15 janvier 2023