The facts are clear. Numerous recent detailed reports with peer-reviewed hard facts from experts working within major civil society organisations are now in the public domain. All of them show that South Africa can meet its energy and many socioeconomic needs through renewable energy and energy efficiency.
With rapidly developing technological advances, and dwindling water resources, renewable energy is beginning to generate enough electricity and is becoming the cheapest, job-creating form of energy. Renewable energy is fast to build (unlike nuclear and coal); can be installed close to the point of use; and, combined with energy efficiency, creates long term work.
As the lead organiser of the Energy caucus Brenda Martin put it: “Restrictive, outdated and centralised power solutions, such as coal, shale gas and nuclear, should be rejected in favour of job-creating, renewable technology options.”
Seven peer-reviewed and published national and international energy reports were analysed prior to the 2013 Energy Caucus and key findings presented at the joint meeting of civil society organisations who travelled to Cape Town to strategise together this week. At the caucus, founded in 2002 to address energy justice, the leaders of over 30 civil society organisations met for two days to deliberate crucial considerations for South Africa’s energy security.
Shaka Dzebu from the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference pointed out that “What the energy caucus is dealing with is crucial to our well-being on this planet. If we make the wrong energy choices we will continue to destroy life on this planet and ultimately impoverish ourselves. There is little point in having abundant energy when there is no life.”
One of the resolutions drafted at the Energy Caucus states that “Provisions for Free Basic Electricity and Free Basic Alternative Energy are inadequate, that implementation is at best uneven and inequitable, and in many communities is utterly lacking”.
Looming investment decisions regarding South Africa’s energy choices and a just transition within our energy mix are of critical concern for our future well-being. In order to realise a justice-oriented and environmentally-attuned electricity future, we need astute political leadership that makes forward-thinking planning choices which are supported by industry and the citizens of South Africa.
Here is a full list of the reports:
- 50% by 2030: WWF
- SMART Electricity Planning
- Integrated Energy Planning
- Dodgy Energy Deals: Earthlife
- The global status of renewable energy
- Meeting Renewable Energy Targets: WWF
- Powering the Future: Greenpeace
- One Million Climate Jobs Campaign
- Making Communities Count: IIED
Further quotes from the caucus:
Happy Khambule, Project 90 by 2030: “All civil society energy reports have many commonalities, the most pertinent are no nuclear and grid parity of most renewable energy.”
Peter Becker, Koeberg Alert: “Now that nuclear power is falling out of favour, it is necessary to form a vision of our energy future as a country. The government is being slow to follow international trends, and also slow to take on board the recommendations of the NPC (National Planning Commission). It is therefore up to civil society to help government move towards a sustainable clean energy future.”
Liz McDaid, Energy & climate change consultant at SAFCEI: “We’ve now got the facts. The only way to overcome poverty and address inequity is through local renewable energy.”
Roegchanda Pascoe, Manenberg Development Coordinating Structure (MDCS) “All the money they have wasted in believing that it is for the poor people – they could have invested in renewable energy for the poorer communities who would not have suffered from these electricity price increases.”