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Radebe stands his ground on coal dominance under DA scrutiny

Sep 05 2018 15:18
Khulekani Magubane

Member of Parliament for the Democratic Alliance Gavin Davis has grilled Energy Minister Jeff Radebe on the composition of South Africa's future energy sources as envisioned in the newly released draft of the Integrated Resource Plan. 

In a written question, Davis asked Radebe why the department was so "determined" to proceed with the procurement of energy from two coal projects, despite previous commitments to cleaner and cheaper renewable independent power producers (IPPs).

During a meeting with Parliament’s portfolio committee on energy on Tuesday, Radebe told the committee that while the coal-installed capacity would be lower than the proportion of energy production, it will still contribute more than 65% of energy volumes.

Davis also wanted to know on what basis the department decided to continue procuring coal on that scale, as well as the cost implications. Additionally he wanted to know when the department expected the court challenge by the National Union of Metalworkers against 27 IPP deals to conclude.

He reminded Davis that South Africa faced significant rigidity in its economy and in its policy transition to low carbon. He said a climate-resilient society must take into account the overriding priorities of addressing poverty and inequality.

"Government’s position should therefore be understood in the context of these and other national circumstances. Thus, in giving effect to a just transition, we will pay special attention to workers’ jobs and their livelihoods," Radebe said.

Radebe added that even though the coal-producing IPPs were procured in terms of the 2010 IRP, electricity generation from a mix of non-renewable sources had not changed, and coal would continue to be relevant for some time.

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