Estimating Greenhouse Gas Emissions Associated with Achieving Universal Access to Electricity in South Africa

"Climate change, energy security and achieving universal electricity access for all households are all pressing issues that South Africa must address. These objectives need not be trade-offs, however, and achieving electricity access for the poor does not justify the building of large coal-fired power stations or threaten South Africa’s climate change objectives. This paper estimates the electricity demand from the residential sector to 2020 resulting from universal access, and finds that electricity for low-income households would constitute only a small addition to total electricity demand and would represent only a minor portion of output from the coal-fired power station, Medupi. Furthermore, emissions from the additional electricity consumed by newly connected households would have a negligible impact on South Africa’s emissions profile."