Power by All: Alternatives to a privately owned future for renewable energy in South Africa

In response to challenges related to a fossil-dominated energy system and a slow-paced renewable energy roll-out, the goal of this report is twofold: first, to explore new models for renewable energy development that create a greater role for public and community ownership, and second, to consider the implications these business models have for increasing renewable energy deployment in South Africa.

By Chido Muzondo, Richard Bridle, Anna Geddes, Mostafa Mostafa, Jonas Kuehl on April 8, 2021
  • Large-scale, fundamental transformation of the electricity sector cannot take place without the reform of Eskom: reform that must include remaking the utility as a green utility.

  • PPPs can offer scale and are perhaps the most easily replicable model, as the current REIPPPP has some elements of this model.

  • Municipal ownership of renewable energy allows public entities at the subnational level to tap into existing customers and generate and procure renewable energy projects.

We analyze four international case studies of publicly and community-owned renewable energy projects to inform the debate in South Africa. The case studies include municipal ownership in Germany, state-owned enterprise (SOE) transition in Denmark, public–private partnerships (PPPs) in Morocco, and cooperatives in the United Kingdom. These ownership models have all been developed in an effort to balance the need for investment in renewable energy with the other economic and social needs of the community.