More Jobs and Progress for South Africa

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Feature story - October 14, 2011
Greenpeace Africa’s new green jobs briefing ‘More jobs and progress for South Africa: The Advanced Energy [R]evolution scenario and its impact’ shows how South Africa’s economy and citizens will benefit immensely if the government invests significantly in renewable energy.

Gemasolar 15 MW Parabolic Power Plant

Gemasolar, a 15 MW solar power tower plant. Gemasolar employs molten salt technologies for receiving and storing energy. Its 16-hour molten salt storage system can deliver power around the clock. It runs the equivalent of 6570 full hours out of 8769 total. Gemasolar is owned by Torresol Energy and has been completed in May 2011. © Markel Redondo / Greenpeace

Across the world, the energy sector is set to change dramatically over the next twenty years, and thousands of new jobs and industries will be created as we move towards a low carbon future in an effort to stop catastrophic climate change.

In South Africa, we have the dual problems of extreme unemployment and poverty, and are also facing global climate change. Our new briefing outlines how investing in renewable energy would help combat these obstacles. It would be a win for the whole country, bringing us energy security, sustainability and more jobs than any other proposed scenario.

The government’s current electricity plan hopes to meet South Africa’s climate targets by expanding nuclear energy six-fold, and continuing to build two of the biggest coal-fired power stations in the world (Medupi and Kusile).

This plan ignores South Africa’s massive natural advantages in renewable resources, and it overlooks the opportunities that could be created by developing the country’s capacity as a manufacturer of renewable technologies.

Our briefing clearly outlines why Kusile and six new nuclear power stations do not have to be built, covering the ways in which jobs and sustainable development can be created instead.

We specifically look at the job creation potential of the government’s current pathway (based on the Integrated Resource Plan for electricity (IRP), published in 2011), to the Advanced Energy [R]evolution. The IRP will result in 111 000 direct jobs by 2030, compared to 149 000 direct jobs in the Advanced Energy [R]evolution scenario.

The transition to clean energy will clearly provide more direct jobs by 2030 in the electricity sector than the continuation of South Africa’s current carbon-intensive path.

The jobs that will be created in this new energy sector include those in construction, manufacturing, operations and maintenance, among others.

Investing in renewables is about investing in people. Switching from dirty fossil fuels to renewables would go a long way in combating the persistent social and economic problems facing South Africa.

Get involved

Renewable energy is the solution. Join our campaign to call on the government to increase its ambitions when it comes to renewables by using the sun and wind more.

Sign the petition and let’s make sure that together we create a sustainable future.