NGOs have expressed their opposition to plans by South Africa to introduce more coal-fired power plants into the energy grid saying the country should be investing in renewable energy.
In their submission to the Energy Portfolio Committee on Tuesday the NGOs argue that heavy reliance on coal would result in thousands of people dying prematurely and cost the economy R33m in lost working days.
“Energy planning must be about a rapid transition from coal to renewables, and the concept of a just transition must be embedded in this change,” said the organisations.
Centre for Environmental Rights (CER) said that country’s coal plans were in contravention of global efforts aimed at halting the effects of global warming as recommended by Paris Agreement on climate change.
“Department of Energy’s proposed addition of another 1 000MW of new coal power plants is a slap in the face to the country’s health, natural environment and Constitutional rights,” said Attorney Nicole Loser representing CER.
Also represented was the Greenpeace an organisation championing green energy which opposed more coal power plants development in South Africa saying the issue of climate change was real.
‘Climate change is no longer something happening in 2100, it is happening now and we are all feeling it,” said Happy Khambule for greenpeace.
While countries around the world are shifting away from coal due to its health hazards and the impact to the environment, South Africa still believes that coal is a major component to its energy mix.
Coal accounts for 77% of the country’s electrical output and is regarded as a cheap resource easily available to use.