Jeff Radebe defends 'clean energy' deals despite objections

Coal ash disposals in South Africa. The country's power mix has long been dominated by coal

Coal ash disposals in South Africa. The country's power mix has long been dominated by coal

"These renewable energy stations will eventually lead to the closure of five coal-fired power stations, which will in turn lead to the loss of over 30 000 jobs", said Hlubi-Majola. The government, which on March 8 announced its intent to sign 27 outstanding deals, has taken steps to prioritize partnerships with the private sector just weeks after President Cyril Ramaphosa took office and made his own appointments, including Energy Minister Jeff Radabe, to the Cabinet.

Meanwhile the minister maintains that the signing of the 27 projects will contribute significantly to job creation across the value chain including the reestablishment of industrial development and support to the technical training of young people to be absorbed in the labour market. There was also misunderstanding about the process of Monday's court application.

The protesting trade union believes that the inking of the contracts "would be detrimental for the working class of Mpumalanga and the country as a whole".

Energy Minister Jeff Radebe last week announced that government and Eskom would sign 27 of the agreements pertaining to bid rounds 3.5 and 4 of the department of energy's acclaimed Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme yesterday, after a delay of almost two years.

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"However‚ counsel for the Minister informed the court that whilst there is no interdict granted‚ the signing will however be postponed until the 27 March 2018 when the matter is finally disposed of in court".

"The court found that our application meets the standard for urgency and therefore granted us the interdict", Numsa said in an emailed statement.

"The IPP roll out will raise the cost of electricity dramatically, because IPPs cost much more than coal-fired electricity".

Nonetheless, this is despite a recent report by the CSIR stating renewables are way cheaper than fossil fuels. The more one does it, the cheaper it gets.

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Because of these underlying fundamentals, the recently reached tipping point of solar PV and wind being significantly cheaper than coal will be impossible to reverse ever again, says the CSIR.

South Africa can not fight the move towards renewable power, energy expert Chris Yelland said on Tuesday.

Coal ash disposals in South Africa.

"There is no evidence at this point that these independent renewable energy providers will be able to retain the same number of workers now employed in the coal fired power stations".

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