Energy is key to our life, to welfare, productive activity, mobility, and to improving living standards, and as such is an important pillar of development. South Africa’s current energy supply comes primarily from fossil fuels in the form of cheap local coal and imported crude oil.

The abundance of local coal has meant that the cost of electricity has historically been amongst the cheapest in the world, and because of this we have developed a highly energy- and carbon-intensive economy. Therefore a transition to an energy sector which is more sustainable is critical.

4 GW

of rooftop solar that is estimated to be installed across distribution grids in South Africa

40 %

of carbon emissions in South Africa is contributed by our 8 largest metros

100 +

municipal partners have joined the Municipal Embedded Generation Support Programme

Our Work in Action

SEA has been working with South African Cities around sustainable energy issues since 2000 and was instrumental in bringing the concept of energy thinking (as opposed to just electricity) into City planning and strategic decision-making. In the early years SEA made visible the energy picture of our cities. More recently we have focused specifically on the implementation of sustainable energy and climate change programmes and strategies, particularly through capacity building and support of City staff, and addressing barriers to effective implementation.

Active Projects

  • Cape Town Energy Scenarios

    SEA's role in this project is assisting in developing long-term electricity scenarios to test the City of Cape Town's draft Energy Strategy and utility business model, to inform City responses on safeguarding municipal financial sustainability.

  • Regulator and Utility Support for Distributed Generation in selected Sub-Saharan Countries

    This project is dedicated to providing technical assistance and support to African regulators and utilities. Our primary goal is to facilitate the safe, compliant, and financially sustainable integration of Distributed Generation (DG) into electricity networks across partner countries in Africa.

  • Mobilizing Social Movements for Energy Democracy and Sovereignty in South Africa

    The project aims to strengthen social and environmental justice movements for democratic engagement and to partner with municipalities and relevant entities so as to lead to the installation and operation of community-led, socially owned renewable energy.

  • Supporting Sustainable Energy in South African Municipalities

    Promoting equitable and affordable sustainable energy solutions in municipalities, focusing on renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Past Projects

  • Municipal Wheeling Revenue Impact Assessment

    SEA's role in this project was to develop models to evaluate the impact of wheeling on municipal revenue as well as the wider socio-economic impacts of wheeling on local economies.

  • C40 South Africa Building Programme

    SEA's role in this project was to accelerate the development and implementation of energy efficiency policies and programmes for new buildings in South African cities by 2020 to work towards a net zero carbon performance.