Greenpeace pushes for nuclear-free power mix, big renewable scale-up
By: Christy van der Merwe
25th May 2011
Nongovernmental organisation (NGO) Greenpeace has called on the
government to make ï¿½bold and courageousï¿½ energy choices, to ensure a
cleaner energy future without any additional nuclear and coal-fired
power, after construction of the Medupi power station.
This would require a much more ambitious renewable-energy policy,
climate campaigner Melita Steele said.
Greenpeace launched its report entitled ï¿½The advanced energy
[R]evolution ï¿½ a sustainable energy outlook for South Africaï¿½, in
Johannesburg on Wednesday, after already having met with Department of
Energy (DoE) officials, as well as the Minister, about the report.
Steele said that the NGO has started conversations with various
government departments, renewable energy industry stakeholders, other
NGOs and Eskom, to engage on energy issues and put forward an
She noted that while NGOs and government often had very different
positions, there was a lot of common ground. ï¿½We accept that what we
ask for is a lot, but if you look at the effects of catastrophic
climate change, we need to do a lot,ï¿½ Steele added.
Although the DoE has released the policy-adjusted Integrated Resource
Plan 2010 (IRP2010), Greenpeace was lobbying for new decisions, and
adjustments to be made to the plan.
The major push was for the government to more than double its target
of 23% of electricity from renewable sources by 2030, to 49%, which
Greenpeace believes is achievable.
At present, about 1% of South Africaï¿½s energy generation mix is
derived from renewable energy.
Greenpeace International renewable energy director Sven Teske said
that South Africa had a major opportunity to become an African
renewable energy production and manufacturing hub.
He said that this was viable because the country had a potential
domestic market for renewable energy, as well as a relatively skilled
workforce, stable political climate, and sufficient port
infrastructure for exports.
Compared with the IRP2010, Greenpeaceï¿½s energy [r]evolution scenario
to 2050 would be significantly more expensive. If the reference
scenario required about $181-billion investment, the energy
[r]evolution scenario would require some $404-billion.
However, Teske notes that the future cumulated savings on fuel costs
would be significant and go some way to balance out these costs. He
also noted that more jobs would be created through greater renewable
Where the IRP2010 envisaged 133 000 jobs created in the energy
industry, Greenpeace expected that through its energy [r]evolution
scenario, some 140 000 jobs could be created.
Greenpeace was also asking that the government completely remove
nuclear power from the future energy plans, and in the interim conduct
an independent safety review of the technology, particularly after
Japanï¿½s Fukushima nuclear incident.
It was also stated that Kusile power station was not needed and
construction of coal-fired power stations should stop after the
construction of the Medupi power station.
Greenpeace also strongly advocated greater energy efficiency through
stricter standards and targets.
ï¿½This report clearly demonstrates that there is no technological
barrier to achieving a pathway to 100% renewable energy. In fact, with
the political will and South Africaï¿½s abundance of renewable energy
resources, the country could easily become the renewable energy leader
in Africa,ï¿½ emphasised Steele.
The Greenpeace report provided a comprehensive country specific energy
concept, giving analysis of how to restructure South Africaï¿½s energy
system based on an assessment of the potential proven renewable energy
sources, energy efficiency and the use of efficient, decentralised co-
The report can be downloaded by clicking on the ï¿½download attachmentï¿½
link to the left of this article.
Edited by: Mariaan Webb
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