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South Africa's Energy Landscape

Installed capacity (MW) Source: Energy Information Administration (EIA)


As one of the world’s largest exporters of gold, platinum, and other natural resources, South Africa has a highly developed economy, an advanced infrastructure, and well-established financial and energy sectors (

South Africa’s large coal mining industry serves up to 95% of its own energy needs and 40% of Africa’s total electricity. Eskom, the country’s state-run coal utility is the tenth largest in the world. (WEF, NDC Partnership, World Nuclear Association) 

South Africa has a comparatively highest electrification relative to Sub-Saharan African countries at 89.3% (World Bank)

South Africa is also subject to frequent power outages that are of significant political magnitude. The country is seeking to diversify its power generation mix, reducing coal use to less than 60% while increasing renewables to 25% by 2030. (NDC Partnership, Energy Capital and Power)

Economic landscape

Despite socio-economic challenges including the COVID-19 pandemic and extreme weather events aggravating weak structural growth, South Africa has recovered its pre-pandemic GDP, with real expansion forecast to transpire in 2026-27. (World Bank, Economist Intelligence)  

Inflation started to ease and return to levels that fall within the South African Reserve Bank’s target range of 3% to 6% in 2023 (Reuters)

High food inflation has been recorded in the period 2022-2023, in part due to electricity supply interruptions forcing food supply chain players to rely on more costly power sources. Reforms to boost power supply are set to be expedited ahead of the 2024 election. (Deloitte, Economist Intelligence)


In 2021 South Africa was the first country to be selected for a Just Energy Transition Partnership, receiving US$8.5 billion from advanced economies. Their joint aim is to decommission two-thirds of South Africa’s coal assets in favour of renewable electricity capacity installed by independent power plants by 2035. (Center for Global Development)

In 2022 USD 500 million of the funding was granted under the Accelerating Coal Transition (ACT) – an investment plan endorsed by the Clean Technology Fund (CTF). New developments will include 100 megawatts (MW) of wind, 100 MW of concentrated solar power (CSP) generation capacity, and 200 MW of battery storage. (Climate Funds Update)

Intermittent electricity supply is stimulating demand for alternative solar component suppliers in South Africa, with rooftop solar capacity increasing by 349% in 2022 - 2023 following privatisation of the segment. (Reuters, Energy monitor)

In 2023 The African Energy Chamber (AEC) endorsed a statement made by the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy that South Africa must balance goals to cut emissions with the need to develop the country’s natural resources and increase access to electricity. To advance the journey towards decarbonisation, the country’s established hydrocarbons sector has much to offer in terms of existing skills and supply chain networks and is expanding with 15 projects in the pipeline between 2023 and 2027. (AEC, Energy Capital and Power)