This project is an extension of the joint Meridian-CSIR modelling project undertaken in 2020 – The Vital Ambitions study – which modelled long-term power sector decarbonisation scenarios. This net zero extension makes use of the Ambitions modelling framework, but includes further constraints compliant with a net zero emissions state.

The imperative to develop net zero power systems in South Africa underscores the urgency of ramping up renewable energy capacity to a minimum of 6 GW annually, an economically viable move that contributes to meeting power shortage challenges promptly but also expedites the decarbonization of the energy sector, pre-empting potential carbon border taxes. By executing an ambitious renewable expansion strategy, alongside flexible peaking capacity and battery storage, the option to commit to a net-zero system in the future is created. Such a commitment would need to be considered at the time in the context of the country’s commitment to a Just Energy Transition.