14 March 2018

South Africa: Eleventh-Hour Objection to Renewables Indicates Urgent Need for a Just Energy Transition Plan

analysis

We must define the best vision for Renewable Energy: who should build it, who should own it, how it should be run. Then, to determine how we get to this point, we need a Just Energy Transition plan. By RICHARD HALSEY.

The ongoing drama around the Renewable Energy (RE) Independent Power Producer (IPPs), is a clear sign that unless the concerns from all sectors are incorporated into national energy planning from the outset, we will not progress towards a socially equitable and environmentally sustainable energy sector.

On the 8th March, the new Minister of Energy, Jeff Radebe, announced that the signing of the outstanding Power Purchase Agreements with 27 RE IPPs would happen on 13 March. This signalled the end of over two years of delays in moving utility scale RE forward. Or so it seemed. Late at night on 12 March, Transform RSA NPC (a non-profit company) and National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (Numsa) attempted to interdict the signing, primarily on a claim that the RE IPPs threaten jobs in the coal sector. Although no interdict was granted by the High Court, the Minister decided to delay the signing until after the matter is heard in...

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