Image: Moneyweb / 1. eMalahleni 2. Klerksdorp 3. Kuruman 4.Welkom 5.Beaufort West 6. Vredendal 7. Prieska 8. Pofadder

According to Moneyweb, a panel of experts under the leadership of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has submitted a proposal to the minister of environmental affairs to declare eMalahleni in Mpumalanga, Klerksdorp in North West and Beaufort West in the Western Cape as preferred locations for wind and solar photovoltaic (PV) power projects.

This could result in significant savings for developers through an expedited, simplified environmental approval process and, as a result, decrease the cost of buying renewable energy – which is ultimately paid by consumers.

These areas were identified taking into consideration environmental sensitivities, the capacity of the Eskom grid to accommodate renewable projects, the preference of developers, and socio- economic needs.

The possibility of utilizing declining mining areas was raised, but not included in the criteria. In the second phase, it is specifically being considered, in addition to the earlier considerations. There are several advantages to using declining mining areas for renewable energy projects.

Concerns are often raised that the use of large areas – for solar photovoltaic (PV) energy generation in particular – undermines agriculture and therefore food security. In declining mining areas this does not arise because the land was not used for agriculture.

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