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

Ulrich Elmer Hansen, Thomas Hebo Larsen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

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.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInnovation and Development
ISSN2157-930X
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021

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