Companies in South Africa are the largest consumers of electricity and therefore play a critical role in unlocking the widespread systemic change needed to achieve a carbon-neutral future.
More than 50 companies with operations in South Africa have already committed to procure 100% renewable power by 2050 or sooner through the RE100 initiative, ahead of plans to decarbonise the national grid. RAiSE (Renewables Ambition in South African Electricity) is a hub launched by World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), National Business Initiative (NBI) and RE100 (led by the Climate Group in collaboration with CDP) in March this year, brings together many of these companies with stakeholders from across the renewable energy value chain to help unlock corporate procurement of renewable power.
Last month RAiSE stakeholders came together to hold a hybrid event at COP26, with speakers from founders NBI, RE100 and WBCSD, as well as the US Department of State, Amazon, 3M and C40 Cities. The event highlighted the key opportunity areas to act on now to drive the growth of renewables in South Africa, the role that companies and cities want to play in this transition and explored ideas for how cities, business and utilities can work together to meet emissions reduction targets and achieve electricity security through renewable electricity generation.
The event followed hot on the heels of the announcement of a new partnership between the governments of South Africa, France, Germany, the UK, the EU and the US, which will mobilise $8.5bn in funding for South Africa to implement a just transition away from coal and towards renewables.
Key takeaways from the event:
- Businesses and governments alike are recognising the urgency: we need to act quickly to progress the energy transition in line with the objectives of the Paris Agreement
- Understanding the local context: the South African market has unique characteristics that corporates must take time to understand in order to identify the best pathways to renewable electricity procurement
- Communities as central to solutions: South Africa must apply lessons to the national market, particularly the importance of the just transition and bringing communities along
- Collaboration is critical to drive development of the sector as a whole: multi-stakeholder initiatives such as RAiSE are critical in bringing together government, cities, private sector and civil society, none of which can address the transition alone
- Need for sharing knowledge and lessons: a renewable power revolution is currently underway across the globe and there is an opportunity for corporates and cities to learn from one another in South Africa, with further learnings that can be extracted from other countries
- Timeliness of investment and a supportive regulatory framework: both are crucial to unlock corporate procurement of renewable power and we have seen encouraging announcements recently, including the international alliance of $8.5bn investment and the recent increase of the licensing threshold for renewable energy installations from 1MW to 100MW.
Next steps for unlocking corporate procurement of renewable power in South Africa
RAiSE will continue to build on the current momentum by bringing together energy value chain stakeholders to deliver on the following priority objectives in 2022:
- Raise awareness and build ambition around corporate procurement of renewable electricity in South Africa
- Develop capacity of companies and enable them to procure renewable electricity
- Inform and facilitate policy change that enables a favourable market allowing companies to source renewable electricity at a fair price.
We look forward to factoring the key outcomes of the discussion at this event into our plans, and will be sharing more information on how we will be doing so in the new year.
Join us! To engage in RAiSE and its upcoming activities, please reach out to:
- Bhavna Deonarain at email@example.com
- Maddy Pickup at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Lucy Hunt at Hunt@WBCSD.org.