ew 20(26): e2

Research Article

Towards low-carbon energy state in South Africa: a survey of energy availability and sustainability

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  • @ARTICLE{10.4108/eai.13-7-2018.161751,
        author={Paul  A.  Adedeji and Stephen  Akinlabi and Nkosinathi  Madushele and Obafemi  O.  Olatunji},
        title={Towards low-carbon energy state in South Africa: a survey of energy availability and sustainability},
        journal={EAI Endorsed Transactions on Energy Web},
        keywords={Energy availability, energy sustainability, low-carbon state, renewable energy, South Africa},
  • Paul A. Adedeji
    Stephen Akinlabi
    Nkosinathi Madushele
    Obafemi O. Olatunji
    Year: 2019
    Towards low-carbon energy state in South Africa: a survey of energy availability and sustainability
    DOI: 10.4108/eai.13-7-2018.161751
Paul A. Adedeji1,*, Stephen Akinlabi2,3, Nkosinathi Madushele1, Obafemi O. Olatunji1
  • 1: Department of Mechanical Engineering Science, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
  • 2: Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
  • 3: Department of Mechanical Engineering, Covenant University, Ota Nigeria
*Contact email: pauladedeji2k5@gmail.com


The drive towards low-carbon economy in South Africa has necessitated alternative energy sources for electricity generation. More alternative sources have evolved in recent times with a view to making energy available to all and sundry. However, asides proliferation of these sources and extensions in form of micro-grids, the questions of increased availability and sustainability has become a growing concern. This survey investigates the state of the renewable energy system in South Africa with focus on the elements, which enhance energy availability and sustainability in the emerging transition to a lowcarbon economy. Case studies of other countries were reviewed and considered in the South African context. It was observed that energy availability on the journey to the low-carbon economy is influenced by physical, climatic, human, prosumer concept and political factors. In sustaining the transition and progressing to a green economy, intelligent use of data from power generation, transmission, and distribution sectors for intelligent data-driven decision-making processes was also found as essential. As part of the sustainability roadmap, efficiency at the end-user side of the value chain and a system thinking paradigm in the harvesting of renewable energy sources (RES) and formulation of supporting policies were also identified. In the overall, the study reveals that South Africa is replete with abundance of RES, however, their continuous availability and sustainability depends on joint interventions of both stakeholders and the government with viable environment for the growth of the sector.