Accessibility links

INSIDE STORY: Making renewable energy affordable – the South African Renewables Initiative

South Africa is a country with a predominantly coal-fired electricity system and ever-growing energy needs. Use of renewable energy resources for electricity generation is currently almost non-existent, but the potential is great.  At COP17, the South African Government launched the South Africa Renewables Initiative (SARi) and the SARi International Partnership. They aim to develop financing arrangements that enable development of a critical mass of renewable energy sources in South Africa.

In this Inside Story, Making renewable energy affordable – the South African Renewables Initiative, Murray Ward explores some of the challenges faced by the Initiative, in particular relating to financing the incremental costs of renewables in a context of political and social opposition to rising energy prices.

South Africa is heralding a commitment to meet both its future energy needs and its climate change objectives. But the country is also clearly signalling its need for help from the international community to achieve these twin objectives.  The Inside Story describes the first steps of South Africa’s nascent energy transition, and draws out some key lessons for other countries.

“We see SARi as a visionary model for other big emerging economies in the process of introducing renewable energy.” Martin Lidegaard, Minister for Climate, Energy and Building, Denmark

This publication is one of a series of policy briefs that explore the Inside Stories on climate compatible development.

Image credit: Jade Wyatt-Holing,

For more information or for help using the one of our toolkits, please contact