From: Kerry-Ann Adamson
Published September 16, 2011 03:06 PM

Smart Energy Country Profile – South Africa

South Africa is changing rapidly, and the ANC government of Jacob Zuma has big plans. This blog will examine the changing picture in terms of its energy supply and its plans to become a primary supplier to the growing global fuel cell industry. The South African economy is closely tied to the energy sector, with demand of 127.8 million metric tons of oil equivalent (Mtoe) primary energy consumption (2007), which is growing at 4.4 percent a year.


One of the aims of the 2008 Energy Act was to diversify the country’s energy portfolio. According to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy, South Africa has some 9.2 percent of the world’s coal reserves (anthracite and bituminous) at 33.5 million tons

The South African utility, Eskom, produces and supplies over 95 percent of all electricity in South Africa, and over 45 percent of all electricity used in Africa. The company got something of a wake up call in 2008 when the country experienced a number of rolling blackouts causing the country millions of rand in lost revenue, and seeing platinum and palladium reach global highs in price. The issue, as was reported at the time, was that the power generation reserve margin was only 5 percent. The two fall-outs of this were creation and enactment of the Energy Act and the opening up, at least in theory, to other fuel generation sources.

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