IRP 2019: More coal. Really?

The following was sent out to our mailing list in response to the recent gazetting of the integrated resource plan in South Africa. For news straight to your inbox, sign up to our mailing list here.

As you may have heard, for the first time since 2010 the South African government has managed to finalise and gazette an Integrated Resource Plan (IRP). The plan outlines how the power system will develop from now until 2030. Sadly, the plan does not fully embrace cleaner energy options, making provisions for yet more new coal. It makes it clear that South Africa is governed not by its citizens, but by a corrupt and selfish coal lobby.

This is an IRP that almost guarantees that electricity prices in SA will continue to rise. Contrast this with Chile, where an increase in wind and solar energy from 5% of generating capacity in 2014 to 20% in 2018 brought a 75% reduction in electricity costs.

It seems that, despite the climate emergency and the fact that renewables have been shown again and again to be the cheapest and best option for South Africa, we must renew our struggle against the incredibly powerful coal lobby, which draws investment away from and cannibalises value in other economic sectors.
Melissa Fourie, Environmental lawyer & climate activist at @CentreEnvRights weighs in on the headlines. 
President Cyril Ramaphosa recently made a statement to the United Nations Secretary-General’s Climate Summit on 23 September 2019 about South Africa’s climate ambitions.

In that statement, Ramaphosa recognised the need to keep warming below 1.5 degrees, to “reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and move towards a carbon-neutral future”. He said that, “In shifting to a low-carbon, inclusive, climate change resilient development path and embracing the global energy transition, we must ensure that we leave no-one behind.”

The decision to include new coal in the IRP is completely at odds with this statement. It ignores the rights of many present and future South Africans who will suffer because of the effects of coal use and climate breakdown.
 
We are liaising with other civil society organisations and thinking carefully about how to adapt our strategies to contend with this deeply worrying development. Please let us know if you have any thoughts or questions. 

Thanks as ever for your support,

Sarah, David and the Fossil Free SA team.

Some IRP Coverage