South Africa has declared three new areas as Renewable Energy Development Zones (REDZ) in the country, media reports said. The three new areas are Emalahleni, Klerksdorp and Beaufort West. This brings the total number of REDZs in South Africa to 11.
The announcement was made in a published Government Gazette notice signed by H.E. Barbara Creecy, Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries. The REDZs are critical for the expansion of South Africa’s energy mix and will increase renewable energy developments country-wide.
In October, two new utility-scale solar power plants started operations in South Africa. The two new plants, Aggeneys Solar and Konkoonsies II Solar, will add a collective 132MW to South Africa’s generation capacity.
Robert Skjodt, chief executive at BioTherm Energy told the media, “This is a significant milestone, that sees the first two of our four South African renewable energy power plants feeding the grid. There is no doubt that renewable energy offers vast opportunities and should play a pivotal role in the country’s economic recovery strategy. It will not only improve the security of supply but also deliver the many economic and social co-benefits associated with South Africa’s renewable energy programme.”
Non-hydro renewable energy such as solar is expected to remain below 10 percent in Africa by 2030. It is reported that total electricity generation is likely to double over the next decade. However, fossil fuel will continue its dominance in the energy sector.
According to a study conducted by the University of Oxford, found that two-thirds of electricity generated across the continent will come from fossil fuels. That said, an additional 18 percent will be generated from hydropower, which has its own set of challenges.