The South African Government has declared three additional geographic areas as Renewable Energy Development Zones (REDZs). The country now has a total of 11 REDZs. The areas include Emalahleni, Klerksdorp, and Beaufort West and are expected to house a number of renewable energy projects in the country. According to the notice, Emalahleni and Klerksdorp have been identified as strategic for large-scale solar power development and Beaufort West has been identified as strategic for both solar and wind projects.
The appointed geographic zones are critical for the expansion of South Africa’s energy mix and will increase renewable energy developments country-wide, as per a statement by the Department of Environment, Forestry, and Fisheries (DEFF) in the country. The agency further noted that South Africa has committed to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and is working towards a low emission, climate-resilient economy and society.
The fast-paced deployment of these new REDZs can be linked-to amendments to procedures regarding Environmental Authorizations. The DEFF reported that despite renewable energy projects requiring these authorizations under the National Environmental Management Act, the process has been made easier to allow for a smoother implementation of alternative energy growth in South Africa.
In January 2021, The South African government announced plans to launch three rounds of tenders for the development of 6.8 GW of renewable energy in the country. Under the first round, 2.6 GW of solar and wind capacity will be auctioned. Similarly, the second phase of the auction to be held in August 2021 will allot 2.6 GW and the third phase to be held in January 2022 will allot 1.6 GW of wind and solar power.