Attorneys from the Centre for Environmental Rights (CER) plan to tell Members of Parliament (MPs) that an Integrated Resource Plan for Electricity (IRP) that provides for expensive new coal-fired power, at a time when South Africa needs to be urgently transitioning away from "harmful" coal, would be in conflict with the Constitution.
"This means that an IRP that irrationally includes expensive new coal could be held up by court challenges for years to come," the CER said in a statement published on Monday.
Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Energy will on October 16, 17, 23 and 24, hold public hearings on the draft IRP 2018.
"Although the draft IRP released for comment on August 27 is a substantial improvement on both the IRP 2010 and the 2016 draft, it still proposes the inclusion of 1 000 MW of new coal capacity to come from the proposed independent power producer (IPP) coal-fired power stations, Thabametsi and Khanyisa. This is despite the draft IRP’s own acknowledgement that a least-cost IRP would not include any new coal capacity, and despite Energy Minister Jeff Radebe’s admission that forcing these two coal plants into the IRP will cost South Africa an additional R23-billion," the CER stated.
It added that South Africa did not need these two new coal-fired power stations, given that it has excess electricity capacity.
Further, it stated that the two proposed power plants would be greenhouse-gas (GHG) emission-intensive and would impact on South Africa's water resources, air quality and climate.
The CER’s oral submissions on Tuesday will be based on the written submissions made to the Portfolio Committee on the draft IRP on October 5.