Challenges facing South Africa’s electricity sector’s integrated resource plan : a qualitative system dynamics approach
CITATION: Mqadi, L., Musango, J. K. & Brent, A. C. 2018. Challenges facing South Africa’s electricity sector’s integrated resource plan : a qualitative system dynamics approach. Administratio Publica, 26(2):119-137.
The original publication is available at https://journal.assadpam.net
National electricity plans are policy approaches that provide opportunities for integrated, goal-oriented electricity transition management. This article provides a critical reflection of the challenges that face the Integrated Resources Plan (IRP) of South Africa, which include the misalignment of the electricity sector’s long-term plan with other national strategic plans, and the minimal endogenisation of this long-term plan into existing sustainability transitions governance frameworks. The article argues that the use of qualitative system dynamics, particularly causal loop diagrams, can be useful in learning about the key feedback loops that relate to the IRP development process challenges in South Africa. The results show that resistance to IRP development, adoption and its overall implementation has contributed negatively to the electricity sustainability transitions agenda. Further, current solutions merely deal with symptoms rather than the root cause of the IRP challenges. An integrated sustainable electricity transitions framework is thus proposed, aimed at improving South Africa’s electricity sustainability transitions agenda. The article finally argues the need to entrench the sustainability transitions-based framework in the existing IRP policy development process in South Africa.