Overcoming acceleration challenges in the South African energy transition (ACCELERATE)

Project summary

The overall objective of the project is to contribute to an accelerated and just transition to renewable energy (RE) in emerging economies, including job creation and development of local communities and local industries.
The project will generate new knowledge on how countries being at an advanced stage in the procurement of RE at which 'acceleration challenges', such as resistance from labour unions and declining industries, prevent the acceleration of transitions and require substantial policy and research efforts.
The immediate goal is that this knowledge can lead to procurement policies for RE, which contribute to accelerating a just energy transition in South Africa (SA), including inclusive engagement of public agencies and private sector actors.
The research will be guided by the overall question of how the design of RE procurement policies can accelerate or impede a just energy transition in SA, and what the consequences are in terms of socio-economic development and structural changes in the labour market.
The project will apply a theoretical framework based on the sustainability transitions literature. This framework will include literature on RE procurement policies, combined with literature on policy mixes, labour market economics, just transition and transition governance to explore three interlinked (sub) research questions and related hypotheses.
The project will contribute to enhancing the research capacity of the younger researchers involved through working jointly in SA under the guidance of senior staff from SA and Denmark, through co-authorship of research papers, through joint research seminars, and research stays in Denmark. The project will further enhance the cross-disciplinary insights and experience of the involved research partners on the intersection between RE transitions and sustainable development.
The project will draw on existing datasets and in-depth fieldwork carried out in SA based on qualitative research methods, such as interviews, documents, direct observations and project inventories.
Through direct engagement with key policymakers and stakeholders, the project will seek to ensure that a just transition is prioritized in future RE policies being implemented in SA and internationally. The project will contribute to socially inclusive models of implementation by private companies involved in solar and wind power projects by cooperating with renewable energy associations in SA and Denmark.

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