Smart Electricity Report: the background

Fast-tracking our transition to a healthy, modern, affordable electricity supply for all

Energy is the lifeblood of a modern, job-creating economy and society. Yet our current electricity infrastructure is uncompetitive, old-fashioned and unhealthy. It is time for South Africa to make a choice:

Do we continue to hold onto the past by investing in expensive, dirty and outdated infrastructure that does not provide electricity access for millions, or do we act wisely by investing in next-generation, clean technology with socially responsible business models that advance our country to a healthier, smarter society?

The Electricity Governance Initiative of South Africa (EGI-SA) has spent two years analysing the country’s electricity needs and has just completed a preliminary report intended to present clear recommendations to government. The Smart Electricity plan outlines a common sense proposal for taking us forward on all fronts: it will make us healthier, more competitive, increase employment and enhance the economy’s resilience in the face of a shifting climate and shifting global economic priorities.

This report speaks directly to the IRP 2010 – the demand and supply assumptions this was based on, and the context it addressed. EGI-SA determined to produce not just an idealogical think-piece but an evidence base for a smarter electricity planning vision.

The bulk of this evidence base is derived from the use of SNAPP (Sustainable National Accessible Power Planning programme for electricity planning analysis). The Smart Electricity findings have been produced in keeping with the outcomes of this modelling tool. There are also specific sections where EGI-SA presents perspectives, which are grounded in a strong justice orientation. These perspectives are particularly present in the sections on Socio-economics and Economics.

While the motivation for doing this work is indeed grounded in values however, EGI-SA has actively sought to build an evidence base for our proposals. With this in mind EGI-SA has invited a wide variety of stakeholders to comment on the Smart Electricity findings. These have included planners and modellers working in civil society, government, business, labour and community sectors.

This is currently a preliminary report intended to signal that this evidence-based work is being done, and can inform key energy planning decisions being made in the next few months.


EGI-SA is part of the international EGI network (supported by the World Resources Institute), which is a partnership of civil society organisations dedicated to promoting transparent, inclusive and accountable decision-making in the electricity sector.

EGI-SA partners are:, Project 90 by 2030, SA Faith Communities Environment Institute (SAFCEI), Green Connection, Gender and Climate Change, WWF-SA and Sustainable Energy Africa. EGI-SA has periodic consultative meetings with Eskom, CSIR, the Energy Intensive Users group and other key electricity stakeholders.

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