World News

Union court action blocks South Africa renewable PPA signing

Union court action blocks South Africa renewable PPA signing

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) claimed concluding PPAs for the 27 mainly wind and solar projects would push up electricity prices and reduce demand for coal power, threatening 30,000 jobs in the fossil generation industry, as it secured a last-minute injunction preventing the signing at South Africa's High Court.

After a delay of about two years, newly appointed energy minister Jeff Radebe last week announced that government and Eskom will 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 on Tuesday morning. As a result, the signing will proceed on a date to be announced immediately after the 27th of March 2018.

The High Court is set to hear the case on March 27, the interdict has stopped Radebe from signing the contracts until the case brought by Numsa and Transform SA is heard.

The signing was postponed at the 11th hour following a court application to be considered in two weeks' time. "Northern Cape will have 59 percent of the jobs created, followed by Eastern Cape with 15 percent and North West 13 percent of jobs created", Radebe said in a statement on Tuesday.

"The signing of the IPP means Eskom will require less coal-fired electricity".

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Numsa said, as the recognised trade union at Eskom, it wants to be given an opportunity to engage Eskom, Radebe and the National Energy Regulator of SA on the implications that the IPPs will bring to its members and their families. "The reports in the media that an interdict was granted are therefore not true", said Radebe.

The union argues that the renewable energy will drive up the price of electricity and lead to massive job losses in the coal sector as Eskom will likely close down many coal plants in favour of renewable energy.

The developments have been received differently by the experts involved in the energy sector. "The combination of all these factors will have dire consequences for the working class and the poor".

"Let's be reminded that REIPPPP was born out of government's policy-embedded vision for an expansion of South Africa's energy mix to include independent power with an associated range of clear developmental imperatives".

"South Africa's renewable programme can contribute directly to the benefits associated with the necessary energy transition in South Africa and must be allowed to continue", says Martin.


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