There is no single, quick-fix solution to SA’s electricity woes. But SA could have cheaper, cleaner and more reliable electricity (and fulfil its climate-change commitments) if it swaps to renewable energy sooner rather than later. This is the main finding of a new SA-TIED (Southern Africa — Towards Inclusive Economic Development) study undertaken by the University of Cape Town’s Energy Research Centre (ERC), which provides an alternative assessment of the country’s future energy needs to the government’s draft Integrated Resource Plan (IRP 2019). The ERC study finds that to fulfil its climate-change commitments, SA will have to phase out coal-fired power by 2040. However, it should be able to do so without a negative impact on the economy. In fact, the researchers believe SA can afford to be more ambitious in its climate-mitigation policy. One of the study’s key critiques of the draft IRP 2019 is that it doesn’t adequately address the central problem of climate-change mitigation, e...

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