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Environmental impact assessment guideline for renewable projects

Environmental impact assessment guideline for renewable projects

21st October 2015


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On 16 October 2015 in Government Gazette 39297 Notice Number 989 the Minister of Environmental Affairs published the Environmental Impact Assessment Guideline for Renewable Energy Projects in terms of section 24J of the National Environmental Management Act 107 of 1998 (“NEMA”).

The purpose of the Guideline document is to provide guidance on the environmental legal management framework applicable to renewable energy operations within the Republic of South Africa and to identify activities which are likely to be undertaken that require environmental authorisation prior to commencement of the activity.


The type of projects addressed in the Guideline document includes inter alia construction, installation and/or development of the following renewable energy projects:

  • Concentrating Solar Power Plants;
  • Wind Farms;
  • Hydropower Stations; and
  • Photovoltaic Power Plants.

The Guideline document also includes the following topics:

  • A review of the different renewable energy technologies;
  • A summary of the impacts of each technology on the environment and the associated environmental authorisation requirements in terms of NEMA and other environmental legislation which includes but are not limited to the National Water Act 36 of 1998, the National Environmental Management: Waste Act 59 of 2008, the National Environmental Management: Air Quality Act 39 of 2004, the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act 10 of 2004 and the National Environmental Management: Protected Areas Act 53 of 2003;
  • An overview of industry practice regarding the various mitigation measures that may be applicable to each of the renewable energy technologies;
  • A review of the relevant national legislation associated with project development;
  • Stakeholder roles and responsibilities; and
  • A review of the primary components of the integrated approvals process under NEMA.

Written by Warburton Attorneys

This Legal Brief should not be regarded a comprehensive discussion of the topics addressed and, in particular, should not be taken as legal advice or relied upon. For further information please contact:


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