Proposed framework legislation for renewable energy in South Africa
Van der Merwe, David Frederik
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It is common-cause that South Africa can be regarded as a country that is rich in diversity of natural resources. Moreover, it is generally accepted that South Africa has the best legislation with regard to the regulation of the environment in various fields such as water, air, biodiversity and waste management. However, there is to date, no specific legislation regulating renewable energy in South Africa. As a result of the high unemployment rate, poverty and the rural population not having adequate access to electricity, these communities depend heavily on the traditional use of biomass, which refers to the direct combustion of wood, charcoal, leaves, agricultural residue, and animal/human waste for their basic energy needs, which include cooking, drying and charcoal production. The traditional use of biomass results in a host of detrimental side-effects such as environmental degradation and negative social impacts. The latter necessitates that the use of renewable energy sources will need to be regulated in terms of law and policy reflective of section 24 of the Constitution of the Republic of South-Africa, 1996. In terms of section 24 of the Constitution, the State must establish and implement reasonable legislative measures to promote sustainable development and the sustainable use of natural resources while providing for the protection of the environment for the benefit of present and future generations. It is immediately evident that the legislative measures mandated by section 24 of the Constitution should be geared towards the facilitation of environmental protection. Falling within the ambit of such legislative measures is framework legislation. An example of framework legislation is the National Environmental Management Act 107 of 1998 (the NEMA). In this dissertation an overview of the concept of framework legislation will be provided with specific reference to the NEMA and its role as such in South African environmental law. This will be followed by an analysis of existing South African renewable energy policy documents, during which norms and/or principles common to these documents will be identified. The question subsequently arises: What should be included in framework legislation aimed at regulating renewable energy in South Africa? These identified norms will be proposed as the general basic norms which should be included in renewable energy framework legislation aimed at regulating the supply of renewable energy in South Africa.
- Law