Title: Environmental Impact Assessment Guideline for Renewable Energy Projects
Government Notice: GN 989 in Government Gazette 39297 of 16 October 2015
Date of commencement: 16 October 2015
Potentially affected controls: Any report, plan or document submitted as part of an application must take into account any applicable guidelines in respect of the kind of activity which is the subject of the application and indicate how the relevant information has been considered, incorporated and utilised.

In pursuit of promoting South Africa’s Renewable Energy development imperatives, the Government has been actively encouraging the role of Independent Power Producers (IPPs) to feed into the national grid. Through its Renewable Energy IPPs Procurement Programme, the Department of Energy (DoE) has been engaging with the sector in order to strengthen the role of IPPs in renewable energy development. Launched during 2011, the IPPs Procurement Programme is designed so as to contribute towards a target of 3 725MW, and towards socio- economic and environmentally sustainable development, as well as to further stimulate the renewable industry in South Africa.

In order to facilitate the development of first phase IPPs procurement programme in South Africa, these guidelines have been written to assist project planning, financing, permitting, and implementation for both developers and regulators.

The purpose of this guideline is primarily to provide guidance on the environmental management legal framework applicable to renewable energy operations and all the role players in the sector. This guideline seeks to identify activities requiring authorisation prior to commencement of that activity, and provide an interface between national EIA regulations and other legislative requirements of various authorities. Construction, installation and/or development of the following renewable energy projects are covered in this guideline:

  • Concentrating Solar Power Plant;
  • Wind Farm;
  • Hydropower Station; and
  • Photovoltaic Power Plant.

The guideline has been structured in a logical and systematic way that guides the reader through the EIA process of renewable energy projects, including:

  • A review of Renewable Energy technologies;
  • A summary of the impacts of each technology and associated authorisation processes required;
  • An overview of some good industry practice mitigation practices that may be applicable to each technology;
  • A concise review of the relevant National legislation associated with project development;
  • A general schematic illustrating some primary components of a typical integrated NEMA approvals process.

The EIA Renewable Energy Projects Guideline can be accessed from the Department of Environmental Affairs website: www.environment.gov.za.