Mitigating exclusionary greening of South African cities through participation of indigent households in renewable energy: the case of Galeshwe settlement in Sol Plaatjie municipality, South Africa

Tyabashe, Nomonde
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Based on the Sol Plaatje Municipality case study, this study focuses on how an innovative municipal business and funding approach could serve as a tool for transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable energy (solar) for the benefit of both indigent households and the municipality. Primary data from the municipality and indigent households in Galeshewe settlement indicates that in its current form, the 50kWh free basic electricity that indigent households receive monthly from the municipality is insufficient for their basic energy needs, while purchasing additional electricity is becoming increasingly unaffordable. This results in suppressed demand for the households and ongoing risk to the municipality due to escalating costs. In mitigation of the two fundamental challenges, findings from primary and secondary data have guided the study to the Renewable Energy for Low Income Earners (RELIE) model. The Equitable Share Grant and Integrated National Electrification Programme Grant (as currently allocated to municipalities by National Treasury and the Department of Energy for free basic electricity and electricity infrastructure provision for low income households) are highlighted as the initial funding channels under the proposed model based on a backcasting approach. Municipal energy plans and policies as well as integrated human settlements’ spatial plans also emerge as critical tools for transitioning to inclusionary RE. Other funding sources in the RELIE model include existing government funds such as the Green Fund and the Central Energy Fund from the Department of Environmental Affairs, as well as supplementary funds from relevant agencies such as climate funding entities and philanthropic socially responsive investments. The model also envisages end-user contribution through affordable payments for service. In conclusion, the study recommends that the RELIE model findings could be adapted for other municipalities in South Africa faced with the escalating indigent household energy crisis.
A research report submitted to the Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment, University of the Witwatersrand, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Masters of Architecture in the field of Sustainable and Energy Efficient Cities Johannesburg May 2018
Kesiamang, Nomonde (2018) Mitigating exclusionary greening of South African cities through participation of indigent households in renewable energy :the case of Galeshewe settlement in Sol Plaatje Municipality, South Africa, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg,