Headline: Future skills and job creation with renewable energy in South Africa. Assessing the co-benefits of decarbonising the power sector

South Africa has an abundance of renewable energy resources. This, combined with the recent drop in technology costs and the need for new power generation as coal power plants reach retirement, provides an opportunity for the country to decarbonise its electricity sector. Managing this process will allow for a just transition in coal-dependent sectors and regions, thus opening new opportunities for current coal sector employees and other job seekers. This study analyses the employment impacts of different plans for expanding electricity generation in South Africa’s power sector; this was carried out in the context of the COBENEFITS1 project with the aim of assessing the co-benefits of a low-carbon energy transition in the country. Four scenarios for the future development of the electricity sector in South Africa were analysed: Council for Scientific and Industrial Research Least Cost planning scenario (CSIR_LC); Department of Environmental Affairs Rapid Decarbonisation scenario (DEA_RD); Integrated Resource Plan 2016 (IRP 2016); and Integrated Resource Plan Policy Adjusted scenario 2018 (IRP 2018). This report presents the resulting employment effects within the electricity sector, primarily focusing on coal and renewable energy sources. It also provides an initial assessment of the skill attainment levels required for South Africa’s energy transition, and the potential for workers to transfer from the coal sector to the emerging renewable energy sector. The four scenarios considered two timelines consistent with the DOEs reporting of the draft IRP 2018: The short-term timeline up to the year 2030 which is based on the expected electricity generation mix to meet the rising demand in the country and which is aligned with the National Development Plan 2030. The long-term timeline considers the timeframe up to 2050, based on the electricity generation mix predicted to meet the projected growth in energy demand in the country within this timeframe. It also considers the predicted decommissioning timeline of coal power plants in the country by 2050. “Test case variables input parameters” stated in the draft IRP 2018 (for public comments) such as the RE annual limits were applied for the reference IRP 2018 scenario stated in this study.

Publication Year
Publication Type
IASS Studies

Future skills and job creation with renewable energy in South Africa. Assessing the co-benefits of decarbonising the power sector. (2019). IASS Study, March 2019.

https://publications.iass-potsdam.de/rest/items/item_4062897_9/component/file_4… https://www.cobenefits.info
Staff involved
Projects involved
Mobilising the Multiple Opportunities of Renewable Energies