The political economy of decarbonisation: exploring the dynamics of South Africa’s electricity sector

Baker, Lucy, Burton, Jesse, Godinho, Catrina and Trollip, Hilton (2015) The political economy of decarbonisation: exploring the dynamics of South Africa’s electricity sector. Working Paper. Energy Research Centre, UCT, Cape Town, South Africa.

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Abstract

South Africa’s coal-dominated electricity sector, a key feature of the country’s minerals-energy complex, is in crisis and subject to change. This offers potential opportunities for decarbonisation. Despite positive examples of decarbonisation in South Africa’s electricity sector, such as a procurement programme for renewable energy, there are structural path dependencies linked to coal-fired generation and security of supply. Decarbonisation goes far beyond what is technologically or even economically feasible, to encompass a complexity of political, social and economic factors. Meanwhile, decision-making in electricity is highly politicised and lack of transparency and power struggles in the policy sphere pose key challenges. Such power struggles are reflected in national debates over which technologies should be prioritised and the institutional arrangements that should facilitate them.

Item Type: Reports and working papers (Working Paper)
Keywords: Decarbonisation, electricity, political economy, South Africa, coal, nuclear, renewable energy, transmission,
Schools and Departments: School of Business, Management and Economics > SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic history and conditions
H Social Sciences > HJ Public Finance
J Political Science > JC Political theory. The state. Theories of the state
T Technology
T Technology > TK Electrical engineering. Electronics Nuclear engineering > TK1001 Production of electric energy or power. Powerplants. Central stations
Depositing User: Lucy Baker
Date Deposited: 27 Nov 2015 12:15
Last Modified: 30 Mar 2016 08:46
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/58502

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