Covid-19: An obstacle or an opportunity for energy transition in developing countries

“You never want a serious crisis to go to waste” said chief of staff Rahm Emmanuel in President Obama’s team. Governments, leaders and policy makers debate on various approaches on how to keep the covid-19 crisis from “going to waste”.

The global energy transition from fossil fuels to renewables is a fact regardless the effects of covid-19 to the society and economy. For some this is the pivotal moment to advance clean energy and intensify the efforts capitalizing the re-start of the global economic systems. On the other side, conditions such as the declining in oil prices following the OPEC price war and fall in oil demand, might make the shift to renewables less favourable for policymakers.

Lockdowns all over the world have resulted in lower energy demand, creating concerns to most developed countries’ energy generators having to deal with unused capacity. That said, countries such as South Africa with historic pressured supply that cannot match the demand due to capacity constraints might find this period as the time to make crucial decisions (and maintenance?).

How can South Africa recover from the problems that the electricity sector had before the lockdown? How can the country and similar countries use the time in a positive manner to promote a more “just” energy transition amidst the storm of inequalities that the strict lockdowns have intensified? Should stimulus packages include renewable energy investments? In all big shocks there are winners and losers, what about now?


  • Introduction to the topic and facilitator: Roula Inglesi-Lotz (5 minutes)
  • Introduction of panel speakers: Roula Inglesi-Lotz (5 minutes)
  • Decentralized energy provision: Lardo Stander (10 minutes)
  • Financial impacts to the National Utility: Deon Joubert (10 minutes)
  • Industrial Development: Ntumba Katabua (10 minutes)
  • Impact on the future of REIPPP projects: Lungile Mashele (10 minutes)


To be confirmed

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