Renewable energy regulation in South Africa: Lessons from the Chinese experience

Authors Helen Papacostantis

ISSN: 2522-3062
Affiliations: Lecturer in Law, University of the Witwatersrand
Source: Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa, The, Volume 50 Issue 2, p. 275 – 302


The global community is increasingly aware of the problems associated with climate change and sustainable development. The solution to the problems requires the participation of all countries. However, many developing countries have additional, and often competing, priorities, which include poverty eradication and social sustainability. South Africa, as a developing country, faces these challenges and has acknowledged that environmental sustainability is central to its own development and sustainability, and has also recognised the role that renewable energy can play in achieving these goals. The country’s abundant renewable energy sources are valuable assets that require a solid and effective legal regulatory system for their optimal use. Despite the acknowledgement of the role that renewable energy will play in the future of the South African electricity market, the regulation thereof is still in its infancy. The People’s Republic of China is facing similar challenges to those faced by South Africa and has emerged as a world leader in renewable energy development. South Africa can learn valuable lessons from China, especially in light of the partnership the two countries share in BRICS. This article will compare renewable-energy policy and law in China with the South African framework, with a view to developing lessons that South Africa can use when formulating its own policy.