South Africa’s energy transition is clearly becoming a success story that is shaping the discourse of renewable energy policies in the developing world, more so with the introduction and uptake of the country’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) in 2011. However, the country has since 1998 committed itself to ‘clean and sustainable energy’ as early as 1998 with less success. The shaping of various policies and programmes, during 1998 to 2011, still proved less effective as compared to the renewable energy procurement policy introduced in 2011.
South Africa as a ‘developmental state’ is grappling with a past political legacy that has very much shaped its current developmental objectives. Amongst the country’s current objectives is to ensure energy security amongst the choices of balancing cheap conventional coal as a source of generating electricity with that of renewable energy sources. Since 1998 the South African government adopted various policy instruments meant to ensure the deployment of clean and sustainable energy alongside the country’s abundant coal resources. However, it is the implementation of energy policies, leading to the uptake of renewable energy in South Africa, that this project will place its focus.
As a main objective, this paper intends to investigate the very essence of policy implementation in South Africa with a focus on renewable energy policies, including the reasons and choices leading towards a renewable energy path in line with policies adopted from 1998 to 2013.