BRICS 2013: “Is the future of Renewable Energy in good hands?“ questions Greenpeace

Press release - March 25, 2013
Durban, March 25, 2012: Wrong energy choices, informed by vested interests in coal and nuclear are stopping millions of South Africans from accessing electricity. According to a new Greenpeace report released today, misconceptions around renewable energy and the lack of political will remain major stumbling blocks in clean energy development.

Two years after world leaders meeting in Durban for the UN talks  failed to deliver a plan for a clean energy future, Greenpeace questions whether Brazil, Russia India, China and South Africa (BRICS) can lead the way in renewable energy development as the bloc gathers for a two-day conference in the same city.

The ground-breaking report, Powering the future Renewable Energy roll-out in South Africa, debunks the misconceptions surrounding renewable energy generation; offers solutions to the barriers to its deployment; and presents success stories from across the globe.

According to Kumi Naidoo, International Executive Director for Greenpeace “South Africa’s current energy planning is dangerously shortsighted, ignoring the vast external costs of both coal and nuclear and fails to provide electricity for millions of citizens”. 

“A roof-top revolution will speed up the uptake of renewable energy if local and national governments will agree to feed in tariffs, net metering and other small scale renewable energy mechanisms,” said Greenpeace Climate and Energy Campaigner Ruth Mhlanga. 

Greenpeace queries why the South African government continues to use public funds for coal based power plants and the centralized energy distribution supply, when renewable energy is cheaper, provides universal access and creates thousands of jobs.

“Falling costs of renewable energy alongside rising costs of fossil fuels such as coal prove that the economics have already changed. These trends - highlighted in the report - like many around the world show that the age of coal is over,” added Mhlanga. 

South Africa can, and should champion renewable energy, one in which we see increased access to cheap electricity, thousands of new jobs and the democratisation of energy production. An Energy [R]evolution is possible if our leaders are willing to champion the cause.

“South Africa, the BRICS bloc and the rest of the world can no longer afford to wait – climate change is happening now. It is not technology, a lack of resources, nor even economics that prevents an Energy [R]evolution but rather misconceptions and lack of political will,” concluded Mhlanga.


Notes to Editors

1. The new report is available online:  Powering the Future: Renewable Energy Roll-out in South Africa

2. Advanced Energy [R]evolution for South Africa

3. The Green Jobs report

4. The True Cost of Coal for South Africa

5. The True Cost of Nuclear for South Africa


1.      Mbong Akiy, Greenpeace Africa Communications Manager: , +27716881274

2.      Ruth Mhlanga, Greenpeace Africa Climate and Energy Campaigner: , +27725608699