Sustainable industrialization in Africa: the localization of wind-turbine component production in South Africa

The increasing investment in renewable energy (RE) in Africa has been accompanied by the establishment of a number of local RE component-manufacturing facilities across various African countries. The local manufacture of RE components presents an interesting opportunity for achieving sustainable industrialization in Africa. However, limited research has been devoted to analysing the factors enabling and impeding the localization of RE component production. In this paper, we analyse the determinant conditions for the localization of wind-turbine component production in South Africa in order to improve the understanding of the opportunities and challenges involved in achieving sustainable industrialization on the continent. Specifically, we explore the role of governance structures in the global value chain (GVC) pertaining to specific components in shaping national policy efforts to encourage the industry’s localization. We find that the local production of wind-turbine towers has generally made most progress compared to the localization of blade and nacelle production. Further, we find that the GVC’s governance structures may contribute both to impeding and to further accelerating the effect of adopted policies on the industry’s localization. The paper concludes by highlighting the significance of the state in promoting local RE manufacturing industries to help achieve sustainable industrialization in Africa.

Authors:Thomas Hebo Larsen, Ulrich Elmer Hansen
Status:Accepted/In press
Published year:2021
Content type:Journal article
Orbit ID:9e95f22c-0c98-49b8-9f8c-e07229ee7bbf
Is current:Current