Can South Africa bypass a gas transition and jump straight to renewables?

By David Whitehouse
Posted on Friday, 6 May 2022 06:00

The logo of French oil and gas company Total is seen on a truck transporting fuel in Durban
A Total truck in Durban, February 7, 2019. REUTERS/Rogan Ward

Planned investments in natural gas could be an expensive mistake for South Africa, with renewable energy offering the best future, experts say.

South Africa in 2020, used coal for 74% of its energy needs, more than twice the average of 31% among G20 countries, according to Climate Transparency.  Gas has been proposed as a way to reduce that dependence.

TotalEnergies said in March that it is planning to develop its South Africa gas discoveries, and regulators expect South Africa’s first offshore gas production in the next five years. Mozambique’s LNG is also seen as a resource. Energy company Gigajoule aims to build a terminal at Matola in Mozambique in partnership with TotalEnergies to supply South Africa.