Energy transition

In general terms, an energy transition occurs when there is a change in the dominant energy fuels, and their associated technologies, used in a defined economic system (Sovacool, 2016).

Just Energy transition (JET)

A JET seeks to limit the negative social effects of the energy transition, particularly on workers in the Coal industry.

The SAIPPA Energy transition programme

SAIPPA has based its programme on the fundamental belief that the South African energy transition requires a Plan that enables and supports the steady, inclusive and considered transition away from an historically carbon-intensive economy with centralised power supply, toward a low-carbon, less centralised energy system while creating new economic opportunities for all.

Given the historical and interlinked relationships between Coal production & supply, the economy and the state, and given that the South African energy transition takes place in a context of growing unemployment, inequality and poverty effects as well as rapidly changing technology, SAIPPA anticipates that markets, institutions, infrastructure, people and even day to day culture will be affected by the South African energy transition. In terms of the nationally determined commitments to emissions reduction, South Africa’s national emissions (as compared to 1990 levels) will stabilise between 2025 and 2035 and then start to decline by 2050. The association wishes to make a proactive contribution to a managed South African energy transition.

In keeping with its mandate, SAIPPA will focus on the unique contributions that can be made by IPPs in this rapidly evolving, complex context. The programme is technology agnostic, prioritises consideration of Coal, Gas and Renewable energy value chain effects in transition. SAIPPA supports transition to a least cost energy mix.

The assumptions embedded within this view

  • That the transition away from Coal is necessary
  • That the transition will involve growing investment in low carbon, less centralised, more affordable energy options
  • That behaviours and norms will change, as part of the global transition driven by climate objectives
  • That there will be a likely related need to reconfigure and strengthen markets, institutions and infrastructure
  • That given the extent and breadth of systems change anticipated in energy transition, issues of justice must be considered
  • That while SAIPPA and its members are new, relatively small entrants to the South African energy market, the association will seek to understand how IPP contributions can best be optimised in the achievement of a national Just Energy Transition.

Topics that will be covered in the SAIPPA programme

  • Value chain effects – differentiating areas of high risk and areas of unique opportunity
  • Employment – achieving an understanding of employment effects linked to transition
  • Supply chain development – models for achieving SMME growth that are scalable
  • Decentralised generation – lobbying and advocacy for lifting of limits to SSEG investment