The South African Government has declared three additional geographic areas as Renewable Energy Development Zones (REDZs) bringing the country’s total REDZs up to eleven. The areas include Emalahleni, Klerksdorp and Beaufort West and are expected to significantly increase the deployment of renewable energy projects in the country.
The announcement was made in a published Government Gazette notice signed by H.E. Barbara Creecy, Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries. According to the notice, Emalahleni and Klerksdorp have been identified as strategic for large-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) facilities, whilst Beaufort West has been identified as strategic for both solar PV and wind developments.
According to the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF), the appointed geographic zones are critical for the expansion of South Africa’s energy mix and will increase renewable energy developments country-wide.
“South Africa has committed to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and is working towards a low emission, climate resilient economy and society,” stated the DEFF in an article by Engineering News.
The fast-paced deployment of these new REDZs is attributed to amendments to procedures regarding Environmental Authorizations (EA), in which the DEFF notes that despite renewable energy projects requiring EA under the National Environmental Management Act, the process has been “shortened to allow for a smoother implementation of alternative energy growth in South Africa.”