Africa is often portrayed as a victim of climate change, a continent that emits little carbon yet stands to suffer the effects of the developed world’s pollution. This view only holds if one excludes South Africa, the continent’s richest country and the world’s sixth-largest coal exporter, seventh-largest coal producer, and thirteenth-largest CO2 emitter, with per-capita emissions twice the global average- 94% of the country’s electricity comes from coal, as does almost half its liquid transport fuel.

But South Africa is also blessed with abundant renewable energy resources, mainly in the form of plentiful wind and its famously bright sun. These were largely unharnessed for power generation until last year, when the government began inviting private investors to produce cleaner electricity for the national grid. Roughly $5.5 billion has since rushed into the country’s renewable energy sector, and dozens of wind farms and solar plants are now mushrooming across the landscape.
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