Meridian Economics has published its Resolving the Power Crisis analysis of SA’s energy sector, which suggests that load shedding may be ten times worse by 2026 and that an additional 5GW of renewable energy capacity could have essentially solved load shedding in 2021 at a cost saving to Eskom.
In response to this development Greenpeace Africa Climate and Energy campaigner Thandile Chinyavanhu said:
“This affirms Greenpeace Africa’s calls for a just transition and decarbonisation of our energy system. Renewable energy is now the cheapest energy generation source, and its quick uptake could solve our energy crisis. Minister Mantashe has been a fossil fuels zealot; he has condemned South Africans to darkness and economic and developmental regression in his dogmatic vision of South African energy policy. This just goes to show that while South Africa’s energy issues are deep-rooted, maladministration and a lack of political will are keeping us in the dark.
“The Minister notoriously stalled bid window 5 of the Independent Renewable Energy Power Producer Programme and continues to peddle expensive vanity projects such as Karpowership, which exacerbate the climate crisis and offer little to no reprieve for the unemployed youth, when the evidence indicates that renewables are the solution to our crisis. The 2019 Integrated Resource plan must make more provisions for renewable energy to stabilise our system and prevent further collapse of our electricity system.
Renewable energy share in South Africa has grown to surpass nuclear energy, contributing 10.5% to system demand. Prioritising Distributed Renewable Energy Access (DREA) has proven to be a significant employer in emerging economies and has far-reaching impacts on social, environmental and economic conditions.
Direct employment in projects under South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme rose from 17 800 job years in 2014 to 45 450 by mid-2019 (IPPPP, 2020). Greenpeace Africa’s analysis revealed that in addition to stabilising our electricity system, the renewable energy components of the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) had the potential to reduce our national greenhouse gas emission profile by 84Mt CO2 annually.
“The South African government needs to embrace the benefits of increasing its renewable energy capacity,” said Chinyavanhu.
“South Africa can still write a new story of recovery if our government can let go of archaic ideas and embrace the new dawn of decarbonisation.”