Greenpeace solar powers World Cup festivities

Press release - June 16, 2010
Jericho, South Africa, June 16, 2010 – Today villagers in Jericho, 180 kilometres from Johannesburg, will gather around a specially constructed Greenpeace Solar-powered Public Viewing Area to watch South Africa’s Bafana Bafana football team play against Uruguay. The large TV screen powered by the sun has been placed in the Jericho community hall. The entire set-up is powered by solar panels and generators, erected by school children, who have been specially trained by Greenpeace for the task. Greenpeace Africa kicked off this Thangkollo ya Solar (Solar Kick Off) project to demonstrate the potential of renewable energy sources in South Africa.

11 June 2010 A young boy blows proudly on his Vuvuzela.

© Andy Royal / Greenpeace

“What the Jericho project shows is that South Africa doesn’t have to rely on outdated methods to literally empower its people. The country has some of the best renewable energy sources in the world in the form of sun and wind,” said Nkopane Maphiri, Greenpeace Africa’s climate campaigner.

“We want to make sure that South Africa doesn’t commit a home goal by not taking advantage of its renewable energy resources,” Maphiri added.

Jericho’s solar viewing screens are an example of Greenpeace’s Energy [R]evolution campaign in practice (1). A key area of the campaign is about investment in people and local communities who can install and maintain renewable energy sources.

“If it hadn’t been for Greenpeace and solar power the football festival might just have by passed us by,” said Amos Nkotsi, a community journalist who also took part in the solar workshop.

Although South Africa’s government is talking about reducing its carbon emissions, due to a power crisis, it has opted to invest in more dirty coal and dangerous nuclear power. However, Greenpeace believes that if the government embraces the Energy [R]evolution pathway by investing in renewable energy and encouraging projects such as the one in Jericho, then not only will it dramatically reduce its carbon emissions, it could create 78 000 new direct jobs in the renewable energy industry by 2030, far more than will be created in the ailing coal mining industry. But it has to end its dependence on fossil fuels.

If other African governments seize the opportunity to invest in a greener future, 1.8 million green collar jobs would be created by 2030 and by 2050 over three quarters 78% of the electricity produced in Africa will come from renewable energy sources. Key to making the Energy [R]evolution a reality is creating a system in which investment costs for a renewable future are shared fairly under a global climate regime. One such mechanism that could greatly help Africa is the Greenhouse Development Rights framework (GDR), which calculates national shares of global greenhouse gas obligations based on a combination of responsibility (contribution to climate change) and capacity (ability to pay).

Contacts:
kopane Maphiri, Greenpeace Africa Climate Campaigner: +2772 5608666
Tshepo Peele, Greenpeace Africa Media Coordinator +2779 512 8594

For photos and footage contact:
For photos John Novis, Greenpeace International photo desk, +44 7801 615 889
For video footage Lucy Campbell-Jackson, Greenpeace International video desk, +31 646 197322

 Notes to editors:
1) The latest Energy [R]evolution report, published last week, provides a detailed plan for cutting carbon emissions while achieving economic growth by replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy and energy efficiency. This phase-out of fossil fuels offers substantial benefits such as energy security, independence from world market fuel prices as well as the creation of millions of new green jobs. For more information on the Energy [R]evolution please go to: www.greenpeace.org/energyrevolution

2) This unique project has been supported by Solar Generation, The Greenpeace Switzerland Youth Support Centre, and Umweltstiftung Greenpeace. (The Environmental Foundation).

3) On this day South Africa celebrates 34 years of youth activism and remarkably so it's during the first ever world cup soccer on African soil and at the first ever totally solar powered public viewing area in South Africa, It's because of these numerous aspects that Greenpeace aligns itself with the youth and old people of Jericho whom some of them were present during the activism days against apartheid.

4) The initial findings of the report 'South African Energy Sector Jobs to 2030' commissioned by Greenpeace Africa and authored by Jay Rutovitz of the Institute of Sustainable Futures, found that if the Energy [R]evolution scenario were implemented in South Africa, 78 000 new jobs would be created by 2030. This report will be officially published in August 2010.