South Africa’s primary energy supply is dominated by domestic coal, crude oil (mostly imported), renewables, gas and nuclear. Despite a rapid increase in renewables driven by early rounds of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP), the proportion of renewables in the overall energy mix remains a tiny ~6.8% in 2017, while around 75% of total primary energy supply is from coal.
Historically, the development of South Africa’s economy was driven by the exploitation of cheap coal. Energy intensive industries like iron, steel, chemicals, petrochemicals and mining still dominate its energy demand profile. The industry and transport sectors together consumed about 70% of energy supply in 2016, predominantly in the form of electricity and coal.
In October 2020 the government announced a post-covid economic recovery plan. This plan lacks requirements for low carbon technologies in new infrastructure investments, while supporting carbon-intensive sectors like coal, oil and gas, and mining.