South Africa could become fastest growing renewable energy industry

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According to Frost & Sullivan, South Africa is on track to becoming one of the fastest growing renewable energy markets in the world. The potential for renewable energy (RE) generation in South Africa is high, and the successful execution of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPP) will stimulate investments in large utility-scale renewable energy systems, driving the growth of the country's renewable energy industry, Frost & Sullivan notes. The REIPPP aims to generate 3,725 MW of the country's total electricity from renewable sources.

Lone Fall, Blyde River Canyon, South Africa. Credit: Lukas Kaffer/Wikimedia Commons

In 2012, renewable energy accounted for less than one percent of South Africa's energy mix; Frost & Sullivan forecasts this will grow to 12 percent in 2020.

"In the light of electricity and water scarcity, as well as rising coal prices, renewable energy is becoming a preferred choice of energy generation technology in South Africa," said Joanita Roos, Frost & Sullivan energy and environmental research analyst. "Additionally, South Africa is the 12th highest carbon-emitting nation, and the need to diversify industries and incorporate lower carbon-emitting technologies will spur renewable energy development."

Under the REIPPP, various renewable technologies have to meet minimum annual targets in order to stimulate local manufacturing and services; however, the parameters for each technology need to be individually defined, and the local industry may lose momentum if certainty over local requirements and capacity allocations are not provided.

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