Asking the big questions

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The Power Futures op-ed series explores the big questions through the perspectives and ideas of people with different vantage points and goals. The writers have been selected based on their involvement in recent energy debates. They are by no means an exhaustive representation of the people or concerns in the sector. It is simply a starting point, an opening for an energy dialogue that can hold a range of interests, sometimes conflicting, while maintaining an openness to innovation to support our shared national developmental goals.  

Where might South Africa’s energy transformation lead? What are the most important issues? Who are the winners and who are the losers? Who needs protection in this time of change? Can the energy sector contribute to a sustainable and just future? Who should lead this transition and who should participate? How can the energy transition address our pervasive structural inequality and not deepen divides that are currently entrenched? 

We also seek to get real on the facts, constraints and limitations of this moment in history. 

What technological options are available to us? At what financial cost? At what economic cost? How do we establish a clear, shared evidence base on which political discourse and policy decisions can be grounded? How will distributed energy resources – energy that households, small businesses, large businesses and communities can generate – transform the energy sector, from the bottom, up?