South Africa’s pragmatic transition

Authored by: Robert E. Looney

Handbook of Transitions to Energy and Climate Security

Print publication date:  November  2016
Online publication date:  November  2016

Print ISBN: 9781857437454
eBook ISBN: 9781315723617
Adobe ISBN:


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South Africa accounts for slightly under two-thirds of Africa’s total power-generating capacity. 1 The country is richly endowed with sources of energy generating resources, particularly coal. With its large coal reserves, South Africa was able to take advantage of its comparative advantage in developing an energy intensive mining sector through the provision of low cost electricity. The resulting economic development model has been characterized as a powerful “minerals-energy-complex.” 2 For years, this model served the country well, generating relatively high rates of economic growth with price stability and more than adequate levels of foreign exchange needed to supply essential imports.

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