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The Renewable Energy Services Market and its Potential in South Africa

  • March 2014
  • 75 pages
  • Frost & Sullivan
Report ID: 2056643

Summary

Table of Contents

The South African renewable energy services market is in a nascent phase when compared to markets such as Spain, the United States, Germany, Australia, and other developed countries. This research service focuses on the job creation potential for the South African renewable energy services market. Because the market is still in the developmental stage, the market potential is assessed through key policy documents propelling the use of renewables. In addition, case studies and comparisons to other developed markets, such as Australia, the United State, and Germany, are used where applicable.

Executive Summary
The South African renewable energy services market is in a nascent phase compared to markets such as Spain, the United States, Germany, Australia, and other developed countries. Currently, more than % of South Africa’s electricity is derived from coal-fired power stations. Of the remaining %, roughly % is provided by the nuclear power station (Koeberg), with alternative energy sources such as wind and biogas providing the balance.
The market is being driven by the Renewable Energy Feed-in Tariff (REFIT) 2010 document, as well as the recent bidding process in which project developers had to indicate interest in the energy mix allocation.
Energy sources earmarked for development include: wind (1,850 MW), solar photovoltaics (PV) ( MW)/concentrated solar power (CSP) (200 MW), biomass and biogas (MW each), landfill gas ( MW), small hydro ( MW), and independent power producer (IPP) projects ( MW). Conflict will arise between calculating overall employment potential and operation and maintenance (O&M) employment potential. Generally, the O&M employment potential for renewable energies is low compared to manufacturing and construction employment potential. In addition, automation of the renewable services industry may have a significantly negative impact on actual jobs created.

The methodology in determining job creation potential is linked to whether only direct jobs are evaluated; if direct and indirect jobs are evaluated; or if direct, indirect, and induced jobs are evaluated. However, no standard methodology exists, and normalisation of the findings is important when making comparisons.
Although job creation in the renewable energy sector is generally less than relative job creation potential in other sectors—mainly due to the low O&M staff requirements for renewable energies—this conundrum is weighed against energy security, and competitive and sustainability issues.
Employment should also be measured in terms of once-off employment, such as the manufacturing and construction of the power plants, versus continuous employment, such as operational and maintenance.
As per the findings of this research service, the wind energy sector has the potential to be the largest employer compared to other renewables sectors.
The accreditation of skills in developed countries is becoming more evident. The South African market, however, is too small at this point and not developed enough to accommodate such institutions, except possibly for the solar PV market. From a private investment point of view, the main challenges include both the lack of local technical know-how and skills gaps, thus resulting in localisation requirement challenges. Skills are often imported to overcome this gap, with skills transfer programmes put in place.

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