- African Cities and Renewable Energy: The case of Cape Town, South Africa    click here to open paper content1370 kb
by    Mans, Ulrich | u.mans@uva.nl   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
Energy demand in African cities is set to increase. With scarcity of fossil fuels and CO2 emmission targets, African cities must use renewable energy. In Cape Town, efforts are under way to do just that. What are the lessons learned?
African cities, especially those in the continent’s emerging market economies, have increasingly become an attractive investment target for international investment. In turn, economic development has been
significant in many African urban centres and population growth is higher than elsewhere on the planet. As a result, it is one of the future challenges for policy-makers to think ahead and ensure sufficient energy
supply that matches the expected needs.

This is part of a broader trend. With 60% of the world population expected to live in urban centres by 2030, there is a great number of countries and cities, which will still face a significant increase in energy needs.
According to the International Energy Agency, “by 2030 over 80% of the projected increase in demand above 2006 levels will come from cities in non-OECD countries.” As a result, the opportunities for producing renewable energy, especially for cities in Africa’s emerging market economies is a key challenge for the coming decades.

In order to contribute to this emerging field of research, this article discusses two aspects regarding the success criteria for one selected African ‘pioneer city’: Cape Town. Its authorities have recently started to
actively promote the use of renewable energy in various fields of urban life, including for example a clearly defined target for CO2 emission reductions, and subsidy schemes for solar heating devices. Furthermore,
Cape Town signed an up-front purchasing agreement with South Africa’s national energy provider to buy wind energy to be produced by a new wind park 70 kilometres north of the city. On policy level, the city is
a member of the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21), and is part of the international network of local governments for sustainability (ICLEI). Cape Town therefore provides an interesting example of how renewable energy policies can affect the urban context and public spaces. This article investigates some of the lessons learned regarding Cape Town’s initiatives in promoting renewable energy. In order to do so, the author discusses two main aspects of renewable energy in Cape Town.

First, the article highlights some of the major challenges that Cape Town faces when promoting renewable energy. Different from many OECD countries, cities in developing nations have much less public money to spend on strategic projects. This part of the article covers both technical and policy issues and discusses where more political bottlenecks occurred regarding planning, inception and implementation.

Second, the author looks at the various strategies followed by the Cape Town city authorities when dealing with the identified challenges. By doing so, Bulkeley’s (2009) five policy types are being used as a ordering principle: self-governing (i.e. the efficient use of public urban energy needs); governing by regulation (i.e. to determine the emissions and energy efficiency of vehicles); governing by provision (i.e. financial schemes that encourages the use of renewable energy); governing through enabling (i.e. awareness campaigns); and governing by partnership (i.e. public-private initiatives). The author discussesexamples for each of these policy types, providing valuable insights in the way Africa’s emerging urban economies can actively shape their local green growth strategies in the coming decades.
renewable energy
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