Legislation governing the implementation of small-scale hydropower projects for rural electrification in South Africa

Beate Scharfetter, Marco van Dijk


The Department of Energy’s ‘new household electrification strategy’ allows for any appropriate and affordable technology option to be applied towards achieving South Africa’s non-grid electrification target of 300 000 households over the period 2014 to 2025. This paper describes the main legislative and regulatory framework governing the implementation of small-scale hydropower (SHP) projects in South Africa with the aim of attaining the objectives of the non-grid electrification component of the ‘new household electrification strategy’, and indicates that it is possible to implement such projects within South Africa’s complex institutional architecture. The inclusion of run-of-river type small-scale hydropower projects for rural electrification in the 2016 updated General Authorisation eased the process of attaining regulatory compliance in terms the National Water Act. This implies that these types of SHP projects would only need to follow a registration process to obtain the required water use authorisation, and not a full water use licence application process.


non-grid electrification; ‘New Household Electrification Strategy’; small-scale hydropower; regulatory and legislative requirements; General Authorisation.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17159/2413-3051/2017/v28i2a2005


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