NEWS RELEASE: Time to fan the renewable energy flame in South Africa

Thursday, June 18, 2015 – Johannesburg, South Africa. Today, the Pope will call on people and leaders around the world to tackle climate change, at the same time a new assessment shows that climate solutions are in hand. Now countries like South Africa must do more to harness the benefits of climate action, like improved energy access and security, by stepping up the pace on the path to 100% renewable energy.

A new report launched by energy experts at REN21 reveals that in 2014 the world experienced a record breaking deployment of renewables – particularly in solar and wind energy – helping to uncouple carbon emissions from global economic growth for the first time ever. 131 billion US dollars of developing country investment in renewables played a major role in this feat and nearly outpaced that of developing countries.

South African policy helped play a role in record renewable investments and deployment, Neoka Naidoo of South Africa Climate Action Network explains, “new national policies like the renewable energy IPP procurement programme have triggered significant investment – 1 billion US dollars according to the REN21 analysis”

The new data shows that South Africa was among the top 10 countries in the world for solar PV installations in 2014, building capacity from 100MW to 900MW in a single year – making it the biggest solar sector in the region. In the wind sector 560MW of renewable energy was added, improving on the lowly 10MW that was previously available to power homes, schools and industry.

However, much of this growth has been in large scale renewable plants and this needs to change. “In South Africa we need policies and finance to develop a healthy mix of small, medium and large scale to fill the gaps to end blackouts,” says Naidoo. “We also need to focus our efforts on real, distributed renewable energy solutions if we want to achieve our national targets for universal, reliable energy access.”

“Today the Pope will say we need to tackle issues of equity and fairness to solve climate change. More renewable energy can deliver equal levels of energy access across communities in South Africa. Cutting expensive subsidies that prop up an unhealthy coal industry will create a level playing field for renewable energy to prosper – this action can answer to the Pope’s call.”

The Papal intervention will provide a global steer to two major summits happening this year on sustainable development and climate change, in which South Africa will play a vital role. The government has a chance to listen to the people and Pope, by delivering plans to move towards a poverty-free world powered by 100% renewable energy at the UN General Assembly on the Sustainable Development Goals in September and the UN climate conference in December.



Neoka Naidoo, South Africa CAN

0027 21 674 5094


South Africa CAN’s mission is driving climate justice in South Africa with a common message. This allows us to reach our vision is towards a just transition to an equitable and sustainable South Africa