CER attorneys to warn MPs of the dangers of new coal in the IRP

15 October 2018 - On Tuesday 16 October 2018, attorneys from the Centre for Environmental Rights (CER) will tell Parliament that an Integrated Resource Plan for Electricity (IRP) that provides for expensive new coal-fired power, at a time when South Africa needs to be urgently transitioning away from harmful coal, would be in conflict with the Constitution. This means that an IRP that irrationally includes expensive new coal could be held up by court challenges for years to come.

On 16, 17, 23, and 24 October 2018 the Portfolio Committee on Energy will be hosting public hearings on the draft IRP 2018. In addition to the CER, activists from Life After Coal partners groundWork and Earthlife Africa will be making submissions, as well as activists from various affected communities, and many other civil society organisations. Download the programmes for these hearings:  16 October 2018;  17 October 201823 October 201824 October 2018.

Although the draft IRP released for comment on 27 August 2018 is a substantial improvement on both the IRP 2010 and the 2016 draft, it still proposes the inclusion of 1000MW of new coal capacity to come from the proposed independent power producer (IPP) coal-fired power stations, Thabametsi and Khanyisa. This is despite the draft IRP’s own acknowledgement that a least-cost IRP would not include any new coal capacity, and despite Minister of Energy Jeff Radebe’s admission that forcing these two coal plants into the IRP will cost South Africa an additional R23 billion.

In addition, these power stations are not needed – South Africa has excess electricity capacity, and cheaper and cleaner alternatives to coal-fired power are available. But even worse, Thabametsi and Khanyisa would be two of the most greenhouse gas (GHG) emission-intensive plants in the world. These plans would have unacceptable impacts for South Africa’s water resources, air quality, and climate at a time when the International Panel on Climate Change has, last week, issued its most dire warnings yet about the severe consequences of climate change for South Africa.

The CER’s oral submissions on Tuesday will be based on the written submissions made to the Portfolio Committee on the draft IRP on 5 October 2018. In addition to the strong objections to the inclusion of 1000MW of unnecessary and harmful coal in the IRP, the following further objections to the draft IRP were made:

The CER and the Life After Coal Campaign call for a least-cost IRP in the best interests of all South Africans. This requires the exclusion of any new coal capacity from the final IRP. An IRP which calls for the building of new coal-fired power stations is unconstitutional and will be met with legal challenge.

For media queries, please contact Annette Gibbs on agibbs@cer.org.za or 082 467 1295.