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The political economy of energy transitions: The case of South Africa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Lucy Baker, Peter Newell, Jon Phillips

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)791-818
Issue number6
Early online date13 Jan 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014


King's Authors


This paper explores the political economy of energy transition in South Africa. An economic model based around a powerful ‘minerals-energy complex’ that has previously been able to provide domestic and foreign capital with cheap and plentiful coal-generated electricity is no longer economically or environmentally sustainable. The paper analyses the struggle over competing energy visions, infrastructures and political agendas in order to generate insights into the governance and financing of clean energy transitions in South Africa. It provides both a rich empirical account of key policy developments aimed at enabling such a transition and provides reflections on how best to theorise the contested politics of energy transitions.

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