Abstract for: South African Energy Model: A System Dynamics Approach

This paper provides a South African energy model that was developed as a first step towards a comprehensive Threshold 21 model for South Africa. The energy sector consists of five sub-models, which are structured around the supply and demand of electricity, coal, oil, and natural gas in the sector. The model was used to examine a set of policies that the South African government is currently considering, e.g. expansion of nuclear energy production and implementation of more stringent energy efficiency measures. The analyses show that energy efficiency measures are indeed the best option to curb the supply and demand constraints, which the energy sector faces, in the short term. In general, the paper demonstrates how a system dynamics approach can be utilized effectively to support understanding of energy-related issues and clarify the advantages and disadvantages related to the options available to government and the private sector. The paper also highlights potential pitfalls that may be encountered when building such a model. Future developments include extending the model to incorporate the linkages between the energy sector and the economy, society and environment, which would complete the T21 framework for South Africa, and extending the model, with models for other countries in the region, to the Southern African Development Community