By working closely with key academic collaborators, this project aims to investigate socio-economic challenges facing the transition toward more low-carbon energy systems in South Africa.

The results of this project contributed to the effective management of the transition toward more renewable energy systems in South Africa. The country already faces a developmental crisis and, as coal plays an essential role in the energy economy, the impact of energy transition is expected to be far-reaching. Therefore, the transition requires an effective policy to avoid aggravating economic fragility and maximise the benefits of the energy transition.

  • DatesNovember 2019 - August 2020
  • SponsorCranfield University Global Challenges Research Fund
  • Funded£19,921
  • PartnersUniversity of Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa; Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa; University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa

Impact and findings

Project completed August 2020.

The results indicated several key barriers to energy transition, including: the heavy reliance of South Africa's energy systems on coal, lack of integrity and corruptions, lack of policy support and lack of sufficient infrastructure, and high dependency of the economic structure on coal. Therefore, in order to manage the energy transition effectively we recommended that the South African Government should monitor the impact of the existing policy schemes and promote partnership collaboration between local municipalities and private companies.