"As the 21st century begins, South Africa faces important challenges in its energy development path. On the one hand, the challenges of development are urgent. Basic services need to be provided to large parts of the population, notably black people previously disadvantaged by apartheid. Delivering clean water, housing, sanitation and basic energy services are a formidable challenge. On the other hand, environmental concerns pose a challenge to the way in which energy is used and supplied. South Africa’s energy economy is largely dependent on coal, leading to high levels of CO2 emissions relative to the size of the population and economy. The challenge examined in the research project underlying this article is whether there are energy policies that will make South Africa’s energy development economically, socially and environmentally more sustainable. Or in other words, how can energy policies for sustainable development become an approach to mitigating climate change."