Country Reports

South Africa has an attractive wave and ocean current energy resource that can be exploited for electricity generation. South Africa has established expertise and facilities to conduct research but the level of funding and activity for ocean energy remain small.

R&D has been mainly conducted by Stellenbosch University, namely on design, numerical modelling and tank testing of wave energy devices, at University of Cape Town on environmental and regulatory requirements and at University of the Witwatersrand related with the linear synchronous generator.


There is no Marine Spatial Planning (MSP), but an Integrated Coastal Management Act determines the lad use along the coast line.

No formal process for site selection is carried out. At present the Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies is carrying out resource and site assessment studies in the form of PhD and masters dissertations.

Two authorities are involved in the consenting process:

• National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) – energy generation permit;
• South Africa’s National Utility (ESKOM) – independent power producer (IPP) access to the national grid.

For any power generation plan greater than 100 kW, a power generator license needs to be obtained from NERSA if the plan is to be connected to the national grid. Together with such a license from NERSA, an application for generator connection to the ESKOM network needs to be submitted to ESKOM’s IPP division. Both these applications are granted at the discretion of each entity.

No ocean energy projects have been implemented in South Africa and thus a timeline is unclear.

There is no specific authority responsible for the management of the ocean energy consenting process as a whole (“one stop shop” facility or entity).

The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is determined by the 2010 National Environmental Management Act (NEMA) and it depends on the electricity output, area covered by the infrastructure and type of construction.

At present, no legislation nor regulation has been adapted to encompass or better suit ocean energy.

There is no fit-for-purpose consenting regulation. Ocean energy projects will fall under coastal regulations and energy generation permits.

Public consultation is required as part of the EIA process thus formal stakeholder meetings are held and documented.

The stakeholder concerns are thus addressed through public forums.

Information about the consenting process is provided by the NEMA – National Environmental Management Act.