JUDGING by comments at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi recently, and recent statements by the South African Wind Energy Association, investment in the renewable energy sector is declining in Africa in general and in South Africa in particular. Evidence, however, indicates that far from experiencing a "rolling blackout", such investments face a clean, well-lit future.
A number of considerations support this. First, Africa is experiencing a remarkable growth surge that will require substantial infrastructure investments. Second, there is time pressure to roll out new power generation to address a rapidly declining reserve capacity in South Africa. Third is the increasing cost burden of carbon emissions; and finally, there is the opportunity to align fixed investment — such as renewable energy projects that provide tangible social and developmental advantages — with local procurement policies, skills training and employment for the rapidly growing population both in the rural and urban areas.