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Key energy sources

South Africa’s main energy source is coal, which constitutes 69.1 per cent of the total primary energy supply. Other energy sources include oil (14.7 per cent), natural gas (2.9 per cent), nuclear (2.4 per cent), hydro (0.1 per cent), biofuels/waste (10.7 per cent), and geothermal/solar/wind (0.1 per cent).1 About 90 per cent of electricity is generated in coal-fired power stations, about 5 per cent from Koeberg nuclear station, and 5 per cent through hydroelectric and pumped storage schemes.2 South Africa’s electricity system is however constrained as the margin between peak demand and available supply is narrow.3 As of 2013, 86 per cent of the population had access to electricity, either through the national grid or non-grid technology, up from 36 per cent in 1994. The government is on track to reach their target of universal access to electricity by 2025. The government is also working towards improving the energy mix by having at least 30 per cent come from clean energy sources by 2025.4 South Africa has potentials to produce energy through biomass, wind, solar, hydro, and waste. Conditions for solar power are especially good with an average insolation in excess of 5 000 Wh/m2/day.[5] There are currently numerous renewable energy initiatives under development. Through the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Programme (REIPPP), 47 projects have so far been contracted. By March 2014 six projects (4 solar, 2 wind) had been completed with a capacity of 191.13 megawatts (MW).6


[1] IEA (2014). IEA Energy Statistics, South Africa’s share of total primary energy supply in 2012. Online. Available from: http://www.iea.org/stats/WebGraphs/SOUTHAFRIC4.pdf
[2] Department of Energy (2015). Electricity, overview. Online. Available from: http://www.energy.gov.za/files/electricity_frame.html
[3] Reegle (2014). South Africa. Online. Available from: http://www.reegle.info/policy-and-regulatory-overviews/ZA
[4] Department of Energy (2014). Annual Performance Plan 2014/15. Pretoria, Department of Energy. Available from: http://www.energy.gov.za/files/aboutus/DoE_AnnualPerformancePlan_2014_15.pdf
[5] Department of Energy (2010). South African Energy Synopsis 2010. Pretoria, Department of Energy. Available from: http://www.energy.gov.za/files/media/explained/2010/South_African_Energy_Synopsis_2010.pdf
[6] Department of Energy (2014). Annual Report 2013/2014. Pretoria, Department of Energy. Available from: http://www.energy.gov.za/files/Annual%20Reports/DoE-Annual-Report-2013-14.pdf