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How can South Africa advance a new energy paradigm? A mission-oriented approach to megaprojects



Andreoni, Antonio;

Creamer, Kenneth;

Mazzucato, Mariana;

Steyn, Grove;

(2022)

How can South Africa advance a new energy paradigm? A mission-oriented approach to megaprojects.

Oxford Review of Economic Policy
, 38
(2)

pp. 237-259.

10.1093/oxrep/grac007.

Abstract

Green transition is a ‘wicked’ problem in that it is complex, systemic, interconnected, and urgent. In this paper we advance a ‘mission-oriented’ approach to reconceptualize energy megaprojects within a systemic, cross-sectoral, and challenge-driven policy framework for energy transition. This approach is operationalized through a discussion of project-level policy instruments including directional public finance, public procurement, and several types of conditionality. These instruments are geared towards shaping markets and industrial supply chains for green transition, and managing risks and rewards associated with energy megaprojects. We also look at the opportunities offered by a more decentralized energy system and the importance of building up state capacity and green coalitions supporting energy transition. We discuss this mission-oriented approach through a deep dive on the South African experience of energy megaprojects with a focus on the restructuring of its public utility, Eskom, as well as opportunities for sustainable industrialization.

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