Greenpeace Confronts Eskom

End coal addiction and embrace renewables today

Feature story - November 7, 2011
Greenpeace activists today dropped a banner from a crane inside the construction grounds of ESKOM’s latest colossal coal-fired power plant, Kusile - reading ‘Kusile: climate killer’. At the same time, other activists have locked themselves to gates at the plant’s front entrance - protesting with banners saying ‘green jobs now’ and ‘no future in coal’ – calling on ESKOM, the utility company, to stop its coal addiction and instead invest in renewable energy projects in South Africa.

Greenpeace Action outside Kusile Power Plant

Greenpeace activists hold a banner reading 'Kusile: Climate Killer' outside the construction site of one of the world's biggest coal-fired power plants, Kusile, outside Johannesburg, South Africa. © Greenpeace/Andrew Orpen


Their protest at the Kusile site, under construction in Mpumalanga, comes in the wake of the recent launch of the “The True Cost of Coal in South Africa: paying the price of coal addiction” report. This report commissioned to the University of Pretoria  shows that South Africa will have to pay up to R60 billion per year for the external and hidden costs of Kusile. This monster coal-fired power plant will lock SA’s citizens into a dirty future that they can ill-afford to pay for.

“We are here to show that the true cost of Kusile is too high a price for South Africans to pay. This construction must be stopped now because coal causes destruction at every step. Building this coal-fired power station is outrageous in view of catastrophic climate change and the uncontrollable debt it will cause. Particularly when coal has failed to deliver electricity to over 10 million South Africans,” says Greenpeace Africa’s climate campaigner Melita Steele.

The Kusile power station will use massive amounts of water, impact on people’s health, kill the climate and create even more coal mining impacts. 

According to Steele: “Eskom has publicly questioned the results of the research by the University of Pretoria’s Business Enterprises unit – declaring that Kusile uses less water because it is dry-cooled. However, the annual cost of R60 billion in the True Cost of Coal report is based on dry-cooling technology. This makes the massive water use impacts of coal even more terrifying”.

“It is scandalous that the government – hosts of the upcoming international climate negotiations - is investing in these climate killers. Kusile and Medupi will be two of the biggest coal-fired power stations in the world. Greenpeace is calling for South Africa to become a true climate leader, by investing in large-scale renewable energy and by not compromising its people’s future. This creates a win-win-win situation for SA in terms of job creation, the climate and energy. Government has to act responsibly, and move urgently towards a green, sustainable future for all South Africans”.