The leadership and management of the City of Johannesburg are urged to get behind the call to switch Joburg to 100% renewable energy. This will very quickly start to make the city more sustainable as it creates jobs.
To advance this aim, the African Climate Reality Project (ACRP) last week met with the Executive Director of the Environment and Infrastructure Services Department, Tiaan Ehlers and the Director of Air Quality and Climate Change, Lebo Molefe.
They shared the city’s achievements and plans including the work of the Joburg Business Forum’s Sustainability Committee.
- The City Council’s energy framework opens the path for introducing renewable energy. Working within regulatory framework, the City responded to the recent call for comments on the Government’s Integrated Resource Plan and expressed a strong view on the economic benefits that decentralisation of energy generation can play within the urban economy, especially as the current business model of City Power is under extreme pressure.
- Together with the private sector, city is generating electricity from methane gas through landfill sites and the Waste Water Treatment Works.
- Solar photovoltaic systems are in use at some of the city’s facilities, with the objective to explore larger scale generation opportunities in partnership with the private sector.
The ACRP and the representatives agreed to continue engaging and holding the City of Joburg accountable to its residents.
The ACRP points out that solar power can create 12 times the number of jobs when compared to coal per Megawatt (MW) of power. Renewable energy saves water and other essential resources and improves the city’s health and appearance to residents and visitors.
The initiative to move Johannesburg to renewable energy is a collaboration between the ACRP and Climate Action Network International (CAN). This necessitates a divestment from fossil fuels and an investment in solutions to climate change – such as boundless solar and wind power.
“We’re witnessing extreme weather conditions. These are caused by climate change that threatens the existing infrastructure and security of our citizens and costs money which the city cannot afford to waste,” says Gillian Hamilton, manager of the ACRP in South Africa.
The switch towards 100% renewable energy has practical and reachable advantages, such as:
- Power generation uses substantially less water than fossil fuels – a factor that is pivotal in a water-scarce country like South Africa.
- The resulting decrease in the cost of energy enhances energy equity and equality, making energy more accessible and affordable to people of all income levels.
- Air or water become cleaner as we reduce pollution which has a direct impact on the health of the city.