Optimal energy pathways for southern Africa

This project has two sub-projects. In the first, Renewable Energy Decision Support (REDS) project, we are identifying renewable energy resources and grid integration strategies that are specific to the challenges, needs, and opportunities in the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP). The project has three parts. First, we are mapping the barriers to renewable energy development in power system planning through stakeholder surveys, interviews, and focus group discussions. Second, we are applying the MapRE framework to identify and prioritize renewable energy potential project areas based on stakeholder-based multi-criteria analysis. Third, we are developing the GridPath electricity system model for the SAPP region to understand the impacts of renewable energy generation on generation and transmission capacity investments and power systems operations.

In the second sub-project, the Optimal Energy Pathways for Southern Africa project, we are examining the effect of potential changes in precipitation due to climate change on hydropower availability across the southern African region and exploring energy pathways that would minimize those impacts. In addition, we are integrating biodiversity, environmental, and social data sets for the southern African region to inform wind, solar, and hydropower development. These data sets inform the MapRE multi-criteria analysis to prioritize wind and solar potential project areas, as well as a multi-objective analysis of hydropower buildout.

The project is funded by UK Aid through the Energy and Economic Growth programme managed by the Oxford Policy Management. Our partners include the SADC (Southern Africa Development Community) Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (SACREEE), the Regional Energy Regulatory Association (RERA) of SADC, Blue Marble Analytics, the Nature Conservancy (TNC), and the Climate Analysis Group at the University of Cape Town (UCT). 


Project support: UK Aid through the Energy and Economic Growth programme managed by the Oxford Policy Management

Project dates: 2019-2021

Research Area: Spatial planning of renewable energy

Research Area: Low carbon electricity systems