Paul Lochner‚ manager of the CSIR’s environmental management services‚ said areas with the greatest wind and solar resources‚ highest need for socio economic development and least environmental sensitivity — that could be connected to the grid — were identified for the first eight REDZes.
The first round of identifying REDZes‚ from 2013 to 2015‚ was based on available data and involved expert and community consultation.
Abulele Adams‚ an environmental assessment practitioner at the CSIR‚ said: “In 2014 we engaged municipalities and the public in every area that would be affected during a travelling roadshow‚ and got mixed responses.
“For example‚ in Grahamstown the local government was very excited about job creation but the game farmers were worried about the visual impact of projects.”
She is the project manager for the second phase of identifying additional REDZes. This will extend to provinces such as Mpumalanga and Limpopo.
Kabi Solar director Mike Levington said: “We are also trying to find zones closer to areas of [power] demand and gold and coal mining areas in their twilight years. Renewable energy zones will allow us to revive collapsing mining areas‚ to retrain and reskill people in new jobs.”
The first eight renewable energy zones are in Upington‚ Kimberley and Springbok (N Cape)‚ Overberg and Komsberg (W Cape)‚ Cookhouse and Stormberg (E Cape)‚ and Vryburg (North West).