A critical review of the consideration of energy alternatives in environmental impact assessment (EIA)
Kriel, Barend Jacobus
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Climate change, as well as the recent energy crisis in South Africa, has placed renewed emphasis on the need to consider alternative energy options for future developments. EIA can and should play an important role in ensuring that energy alternatives are considered in developmental decision making. The need to consider energy alternatives has already been highlighted as EIA good practice in various guidelines, as well as being explicitly required in relevant application forms. The purpose of this research was twofold. Firstly, to determine the extent to which energy alternatives were considered in EIAs for Metropolitan developments. Secondly, to identify the barriers towards improving the uptake and consideration of energy alternatives by environmental assessment practitioners, environmental authorities and developers. The results show that the consideration of energy alternatives is almost non-existent with very few cases of best practice. The barriers towards introduction of energy alternatives seem to be related to a lack of information and knowledge, institutional resistance to change, as well as general expediency.