The Life After Coal Campaign, comprising environmental organisations EarthLife Africa, groundWork and the Centre for Environmental Rights (CER), together with Greenpeace, has called on Energy Minister Jeff Radebe to cancel plans to build two new coal-fired power plants – Thabametsi and Khanyisa.
In a statement released on Monday, the CER said the campaign also called on the Minister to not include any new coal in the updated Integrated Resource Plan for electricity.
Radebe last week reiterated government’s intention to proceed with the procurement of electricity from the two independent coal power plants.
The Energy Research Centre last week also released a report stating that the two new coal-fired plants would cost South Africa an additional R20-billion and increase the country’s greenhouse-gas emissions.
According to the report, given South Africa’s large surplus generation capacity, the independent power plants were unnecessary to meet demand.
“Both plants would have significant impacts on air quality and health in areas that are already heavily polluted, and would use enormous amounts of water resources,” the report stated.
The CER further highlighted that, despite opposition from environmental groups, Radebe has stated that, at least in the case of Thabametsi, the environmental authorisation for the station should be upheld.
“It is for these reasons that the Life After Coal Campaign will continue to challenge all authorisations for these plants, including in High Court proceedings, still under way. We want to arrange an urgent meeting with Radebe to discuss the future of coal as an energy source in South Africa,” it said.