Last week Greenpeace Africa launched our Advanced Energy [R]evolution report – a critical (but not particularly flashy) component of our climate and energy campaign in South Africa.

The report basically lays the foundation for our organisation’s activism, and makes the clear argument for (much) more renewable energy, (a lot) less coal (i.e. no Kusile), and no new nuclear. [Video explanation, here.]

It was an interesting week, filled up with meetings and discussions about the report. It’s important to us that this report doesn’t just sit gathering dust somewhere, but is actively discussed and used. Because of that, we’ve been seeking meetings with various departments to discuss the report, we held a press conference for the official launch, and also hosted workshops for other key stakeholders, together with sending the report to key stakeholders like Eskom. Our engagements based on this report are also set to continue.

Solar Installation for the Solar World Cup

Just two days before the FIFA World Cup kick-off, students of the Madiba-a-Toloane High School install 26 120W solar panels on the roof of their school hall. The panels will supply a public viewing area where 600 people from Jericho village can watch the games. 06/09/2010. Photo: © Greenpeace / Nicolas Fojtu

Feedback on the report has been good so far, but the reality is that many people just don’t believe that there are no technological barriers to 100% renewable energy in this country.

There is a general sense in South Africa that renewable energy can’t deliver what this country needs in terms of electricity supply, and that it’s ‘small scale’. The opposite is true, actually. Renewables are a far better choice than either coal or nuclear on a number of different levels, and just because this country has almost no renewables at the moment (shockingly, although we have some of the best renewable resources in the world, less than 1% of our electricity comes from renewables), doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t look for a greener development pathway.

In fact, it is our belief that the South African government should be doubling its renewable energy target for 2030 – from 23% to nearly 50%. It’s entirely possible, all we need is a long-term vision, innovation, political will and the money that has been earmarked for coal or nuclear energy going to renewables instead. We do realise that we are asking for a lot, but a lot needs to be done to avoid runaway climate change.

So, it’s not enough for us to just present the blueprint – now it’s time for us to actively campaign for its implementation. We believe that it’s time for Eskom to stop building Kusile, and it’s time to abandon nuclear energy. What we are proposing is not science fiction, and we intend to do everything we can to prove it, and make the Energy [R]evolution a reality.