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Gridlocked: A long-term look at South Africa's electricity sector (September 2015)

16th September 2015

By: ISS, Institute for Security Studies


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Electricity generation in South Africa is changing, but whether the electricity grid will be able to adapt to these changes is uncertain.

This paper presents an alternative frame for the current electricity challenges by focusing on the electricity grid. Using the International Futures forecasting model, the African Futures Project has built three scenarios to 2050 to inform policymakers of the long-term implications of grid decisions.


With coordinated planning, improved operational strategies and coherent policies, renewable energy can contribute significantly to the energy mix by 2050, help increase economic growth and benefit all South Africans. These interventions, however, will only be successful if there is a clear plan for the structure of the electricity sector.

About the author


Steve Hedden is a researcher at the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) in the African Futures and Innovation section and a research fellow for the Pardee Center for International Futures at the University of Denver.

This paper was made possible with support from the Hanns Seidel Foundation. The ISS is also grateful for support from the following members of the ISS Partnership Forum: the governments of Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the USA.

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