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Power struggles: An exploration of the contribution of renewable energy to sustainable development, decent work and the “just transition” through a case study of wind farm development outside Loeriesfontein, Northern Cape Province (2011-2020)

dc.contributor.advisorWalker, Cherrylen_ZA
dc.contributor.authorMalope, Boitumelo Jamesen_ZA
dc.contributor.otherStellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of Sociology and Social Anthropology.en_ZA
dc.date.accessioned2022-02-01T20:27:41Z
dc.date.accessioned2022-04-29T09:22:23Z
dc.date.available2022-02-01T20:27:41Z
dc.date.available2022-04-29T09:22:23Z
dc.date.issued2022-04
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/124613
dc.descriptionThesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2022.en_ZA
dc.description.abstractENGLISH ABSTRACT: Through a case study of the development of two linked wind farms outside Loeriesfontein, a small town in the Northern Cape Karoo, this dissertation explores the contribution of renewable energy to sustainable development, “decent work” and the “just transition” to a lowcarbon economy in South Africa. In considering how the just transition can be realised in Loeriesfontein and the wider Hantam Local Municipality, this dissertation draws on an understanding of sustainable development that rests on three non-negotiable moral imperatives: satisfying human needs, enhancing social equity and respecting environmental limits. It also locates the political struggles around the introduction of renewable energy into South Africa’s energy mix within an analysis of the Minerals-Energy-Complex (MEC) and the continued influence of this complex in South Africa’s political economy after the democratic transition of 1994. This dissertation thus broadens the focus on the plight of workers and their communities in the coal sector in current debates on the just transition, to include communities in the Northern Cape. This province is currently home to over half the projects in the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP). Since the introduction of the REIPPPP in 2011, studies have highlighted the programme’s potential for community development and job creation in the “host” communities located within a 50km radius from where renewable energy projects are constructed. However, there has been little research on actual developments within these sites and, as a result, the voices of the marginalised people living in these communities have been missing in the debates. My study utilised a case-study research design involving semi-structured in-depth interviews with key informants and former workers employed during the construction of the two wind farms, along with policy and documentary analysis, observation and primary data from a household survey. Main findings were the following. Firstly, the jobs created during the construction of the wind farms satisfied some but not all of the criteria of “decent work”: while wages and work conditions were generally better than those offered by other local employers, training opportunities were neglected. Furthermore, very few local workers could be absorbed into the workforce once the wind farms began operating. Company claims around the number of (short-term) jobs created were also misleading. Secondly, the community development projects initiated in terms of the REIPPPP’s local economic development scorecard were introduced in a piecemeal, top-down fashion and mired in local patronage politics. While targeting certain community needs, they fell short of advancing holistic sustainable development. The Community Trust established as part of the ownership structure of the two wind farms may have potential in alleviating household poverty once it becomes operational, but that will require strong, democratic management and ensuring that impoverished households in the municipality are targeted as beneficiaries. This dissertation confirms the importance of harnessing the investment in renewable energy towards sustainable development in host communities and broadening the understanding of what the just transition to a low-carbon economy entails in South Africa. It concludes with certain policy and research recommendations in this regard.en_ZA
dc.description.abstractAFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie tesis verken die bydrae van hernubare energie tot volhoubare ontwikkeling, behoorlike werk en die ‘billike oorgang’ na ʼn laekoolstof-ekonomie in Suid-Afrika deur middel van ʼn gevallestudie van die ontwikkeling van twee gekoppelde windplase buite Loeriesfontein, ʼn klein dorpie in die Noord-Kaapse Karoo. Die tesis neem in oenskou hoe die ‘billike oorgang’ in Loeriesfontein en die groter Hantam Plaaslike Munisipaliteit verwerklik kan word, en steun in hierdie oorweging op ʼn begrip van volhoubare ontwikkeling wat op drie ononderhandelbare morele noodsaaklikhede berus: voldoen aan menslike behoeftes, versterk maatskaplike billikheid en respekteer omgewingsperke. Dit plaas ook die politieke stryd oor die toevoeging van hernubare energie tot Suid-Afrika se energiemengsel binne ʼn ontleding van die mineraleenergie- kompleks (MEK) en die voortgesette invloed van hierdie kompleks op Suid-Afrika se politieke ekonomie na die demokratiese oorgang in 1994. Hierdie tesis verbreed dus die fokus op die posisie van werkers en hulle gemeenskappe in die steenkoolsektor, binne die huidige debat oor ‘billike oorgang’, om gemeenskappe in die Noord-Kaap in te sluit. Hierdie provinsie huisves tans meer as die helfte van die projekte in die program vir die verkryging van onafhanklike kragprodusente vir hernubare energie (Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme, of REIPPPP). Sedert die bekendstelling van die REIPPPP in 2011, het studies die program se potensiaal vir gemeenskapsontwikkeling en werkskepping in die “gasheer”-gemeenskappe binne ʼn omtrek van 50 km van waar hernubare-energieprojekte gebou word, uitgelig. Daar is egter nog min navorsing oor werklike ontwikkelings binne hierdie terreine gedoen en dus word die stemme van die gemarginaliseerde mense in hierdie gemeenskappe nie in die debat gehoor nie. My studie het ‘n gevallestudie- navorsingsontwerp gebruik, wat semigestruktureerde, diepgaande onderhoude met hoofinformante en voormalige werkers, wat tydens die konstruksie van die twee windplase in diens was, tesame met beleids- en dokumentere ontleding, waarneming en primere data uit ʼn huishoudelike opname, behels. Die hoofbevindings was die volgende: Eerstens het die werk wat tydens die konstruksie van die windplase geskep is, aan sommige van die kriteria van ‘behoorlike werk’ voldoen, maar nie aan almal nie – hoewel lone en werkstoestande oor die algemeen beter was as enigiets wat deur ander plaaslike werkgewers aangebied is, het opleidingsgeleenthede agterwee gebly. Voorts kon baie min van die plaaslike werkers in die werksmag opgeneem word nadat die windplase in werking gestel is. Die maatskappy se bewerings oor die aantal (korttermyn-) werke wat geskep is, is ook misleidend. Tweedens is die gemeenskapsontwikkelingsprojekte wat ingevolge die REIPPPP se telkaart vir plaaslike ekonomiese ontwikkeling begin is, stuksgewys, hierargies ingestel en was dit vasgevang in plaaslike patronaatskapspolitiek. Hoewel sekere gemeenskapsbehoeftes geteiken is, het die projekte nie daarin geslaag om holistiese volhoubare ontwikkeling te bevorder nie. Die gemeenskapstrust, wat as deel van die eienaarstruktuur van die twee windplase gestig is, het dalk die potensiaal om huishoudelike armoede te verlig wanneer dit in werking tree, maar dit sal sterk demokratiese bestuur vereis en daar sal seker gemaak moet word dat verarmde huishoudings in die munisipaliteit as begunstigdes geteiken word. Hierdie tesis bevestig hoe belangrik dit is om die belegging in hernubare energie ten bate van volhoubare ontwikkeling in gasheer-gemeenskappe in te span en die begrip van wat die ‘billike oorgang’ na ʼn laekoolstof-ekonomie in Suid-Afrika behels, te verbreed. Dit sluit af met sekere beleids- en navorsingsaanbevelings in hierdie verband.af_ZA
dc.format.extentxiv, 251 pages : illustrationsen_ZA
dc.language.isoen_ZAen_ZA
dc.publisherStellenbosch : Stellenbosch Universityen_ZA
dc.subjectEnvironmental justice -- South Africa -- Northern Capeen_ZA
dc.subjectWind power -- South Africa -- Northern Capeen_ZA
dc.subjectEnvironmental policy -- South Africa -- Northern Capeen_ZA
dc.subjectEnvironmental justice -- South Africa -- Northern Capeen_ZA
dc.subjectRenewable resource integration -- South Africa -- Northern Capeen_ZA
dc.subjectRenewable energy sources -- South Africa -- Northern Capeen_ZA
dc.subjectSustainable development -- South Africa -- Northern Capeen_ZA
dc.subjectClimatic change mitigation -- South Africa -- Northern Capeen_ZA
dc.subjectUCTD
dc.titlePower struggles: An exploration of the contribution of renewable energy to sustainable development, decent work and the “just transition” through a case study of wind farm development outside Loeriesfontein, Northern Cape Province (2011-2020)en_ZA
dc.typeThesisen_ZA
dc.description.versionDoctoralen_ZA
dc.rights.holderStellenbosch Universityen_ZA


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