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Sustainable Development

South Africa’s energy sector forms a critical part of the country’s economy and relies heavily on its large coal deposits to generate energy and electricity for most of the country’s needs. Despite the post-apartheid government’s commitment to provide basic services for all, over 12 million people were still without electricity in South Africa in 2007. Moreover, although the government aimed to achieve electricity for all by 2012, demand continues to surpass supply while grid distribution is continually threatened by a lack of generation capacity.

Local authorities are the primary delivery agents for electricity service provision and are thus key stakeholders in promoting and implementing renewable energy technologies. However, many local governments lack the experience or capacity to distinguish the different types of technologies, their suitability and available financing options. As a result, renewable energy systems and technologies continue to be underdeveloped and poorly understood.

In order to bridge that gap, the Hanns Seidel Foundation (HSF), the Sustainable Development Network (SDN) and Juta Publishers have teamed up to develop a Renewable Energy Guide for Local Government in South Africa. This manual is an indispensable instrument for local government officials, city managers and politicians who strive to adopt and facilitate renewable energy systems and technologies.

Between 2013 and 2015, the manual will be the basis for a training programme that will be offered to officials around the country by SDN and HSF, in conjunction with experts in renewable energy and energy efficiency. The training programme provides an overview of the legal environment, the available technical solutions and possible financing options for implementing renewable energy projects at the municipal level in South Africa.

The aim of this book is to provide useful information and solid examples of how politicians, city managers and government officials can facilitate the sustainable adoption of renewable energy systems and technologies at the municipal level. The book provides baseline figures on energy consumption and associated greenhouse gases in South Africa. It also analyses trends in greenhouse gas emissions, energy price increases and energy security, and provides an overview of existing policies related to energy and future energy planning, and provides insight on how renewable energy can be stimulated in the context of these policies. Furthermore, the book gives an overview of RE technologies, and offers a step-by-step guide on developing local sustainable energy strategies. Finally, it summarises financial mechanisms available for renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies in South Africa and includes a summary of financial modelling tools available for renewable and energy efficient initiatives.