There has been a rapid decline in the costs of solar and wind power, to such an extent that both technologies are now cheaper than nuclear or coal. This development will radically transform global electricity generation networks.
How this transformation takes place in South Africa will depend on the role of government, the regulator, the market and to some extent civil society.
At the moment government is pursuing a strategy based on a limited number of high capacity sites. These are connected to the national grid and owned or operated by about 100 independent power producers. The strategy preserves country’s energy provider Eskom’s monopoly over national distribution, and the holding power of municipalities over distribution at the local level.