Jeff Radebe defends 'clean energy' deals despite objections
14 March, 2018, 01:15
Radebe has denied that the High Court in Pretoria granted the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) and Transform RSA an interdict on Monday night, blocking the signing of the contracts.
Despite the court being unable to raise a legal reason why the contracts could not be signed on 13 March, "the signing will however be postponed until 27 March 2018 when the matter is finally disposed of in Court".
The NUMSA injunction forced Radebe to agree that the renewable PPAs would not be signed until the issues raised had been subject to a full hearing by the court, according to a statement from the union.
Radebe's comments follow a decision by the National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (NUMSA) and non-governmental organisation Transform RSA's decision to approach the High Court in Pretoria. A total of 27 Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Projects (REIPPP) contracts had been lined up for signatures.
Numsa estimates that the closure of Eskom's power stations as a result of the renewable projects would affect at least 30,000 families. "We are confident that the court will recognise that our rights have been violated and will look favourably on our application‚" said Numsa. The ANC government clearly wants to make the working class and the poor suffer even more than they do now.
In a study about the cost of new power generators in SA, the CSIR argues renewables such as solar PV and wind are a "mass manufacturing play". The more one does it, the more expensive it gets.
"In the absence of an interdict, and with the court having expressly informed the parties in court that it would not grant such an order, nothing prevented Eskom and IPPs from signing the agreements, as scheduled by me for 13 March 2018". The utility favored a nuclear-build program at the time and maintained a standoff on what was once a successful program by the Department of Energy to diversify South Africa's power mix and bring in billions in foreign investment. The country's power mix has always been dominated by coal.
Radebe said the signing of the 27 projects will enable ZAR56 billion of new investment in the economy over the next two to three years.
"The facts are clear: renewables already cost over 50% less than new coal-fired power, government policy has for years included the closure of coal-fired power stations, the associated job losses are being planned for through numerous processes now under way - most notably processes being undertaken by the national planning commission, electricity price increases are directly related to the extended delays and rising costs associated with Eskom's coal build programme". Moreover, the union says that renewable energy would boost electricity prices.
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