South Africa, Johannesburg, 5 December 2018 — As Eskom once again implements rotational load-shedding – which may go on for years – in South Africa, Climate and Energy Campaigner for Greenpeace Africa, Nhlanhla Sibisi has said:
“Minister of Energy, Jeff Radebe can not be silent about the current energy crisis and needs to act immediately. South Africans are sick and tired of endless load shedding, which is testing our patience, but is also a severe threat to the economy. We are asking the Minister to implement an urgent action plan that improves the situation in the short term, as we do not believe that the government taking on any more of Eskom’s debt is a sustainable solution.
Rapid investments in renewable energy is the most obvious short term solution to the electricity supply crisis, with additional benefits for issues such as air pollution, water, climate change, and jobs. This is why the urgent action plan must boost investments in wind and solar now and not in 2025, as outlined in the draft Integrated Resource Plan (IRP). At the same time the government needs to make sure that our state-owned utility Eskom is part of the investment programme to heal its business model and to keep jobs in the utility and heavily polluted coal regions like Mpumalanga.
Eskom’s debt combined with its almost complete reliance on coal means that it is continuing to hold the country hostage. This problem will only intensify with the necessary closure and decommissioning of old and heavily polluting coal-fired power stations. We cannot accept that today coal-fired power stations are running with broken air pollution equipment (like at Kendall and Duvha), don’t comply with minimum emission standards and put people’s health in extreme danger. We need to have alternatives ready to go, and Eskom should be at the centre of investments in renewable energy to help create a sustainable way forward.”
Nhlanhla Sibisi, Senior Climate & Energy Campaigner – Greenpeace Africa, +27 82 614 2673, firstname.lastname@example.org