The National Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) appointed the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), to undertake the Phase 2 Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) for the effective and efficient roll-out of large scale wind and solar development in South Africa. Phase 2 of the SEA follows on from the recently completed Phase 1 Wind and Solar SEA which identified 8 Renewable Energy Development Zones (REDZs) in South Africa and was approved for gazette in February 2016 and went out for public comments in April 2017.

Much like its predecessor, Phase 2 of the Wind and Solar PV SEA aims to identify geographical areas best suited for the roll-out of wind and solar PV energy projects. It is envisaged that wind and solar PV development will be incentivised and streamlined in the REDZs. The SEA process also provides a platform for coordination between the various authorities responsible for issuing authorisations, permits or consents and thereby allows for an integrated environmental authorisation process.

The delineation of the first draft Focus Areas (see Figure 1 and Figure 2 below) for the second phase of the wind and solar PV SEA was based on three spatial mapping exercises:

  • environmental constraints mapping;
  • technical constraints mapping; and
  • Socio-economic activity index mapping.

Details on the methodology and data used during these mapping exercises are included here.

Figure 1: First draft Focus Areas for solar PV energy development

Figure 2: First draft Focus Areas for wind energy development