On 13 April 2017 the Minister of Environmental Affairs published a notice stating that applications for environmental authorisations in terms of the National Environmental Management Act 107 of 1998 read with the Environmental Impact Assessment ( “EIA”) Regulations (as amended) for wind and solar photovoltaic projects and their supporting infrastructure would be permitted to follow the more simplified basic assessment process rather than the more detailed scoping assessment and EIA process if it is constructed in one of the 8 Renewable Energy Development Zones ( “REDZ”) or associated strategic transmission corridors.

This more streamlined process applies to

  • Large scale wind or solar photovoltaic facilities, when such facilities trigger activity 1 of EIA Regulations Listing Notice 2 and any other listed and specified activities necessary for the realization of such facilities, and where the entire proposed facility occurs in such REDZ or associated strategic transmission corridors; and

  • Powerlines and substations, when such facilities trigger activity 9 of EIA Regulations, Listing Notice 2 and any other listed and specified activities necessary for the realization of such facilities, and where the entire proposed facility is to occur in one more such strategic transmission corridors.

The timeframe for decision-making as contained in the EIA Regulations for these applications will be 57 days.

The boundaries of the REDZ and corridors can be viewed at https://egis.environment.gov.za/