Cosatu adds to re­new­able en­ergy woes

Mail & Guardian - - Business -

Cosatu has called for Eskom not to sign any new re­new­able en­ergy agree­ments fol­low­ing the pre­ma­ture clo­sure and phas­ing out of some coal mines, which the trade union fed­er­a­tion es­ti­mates will re­sult in 6 000 jobs lost.

Cosatu has sub­mit­ted a sec­tion 77 no­tice to the Na­tional Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment and Labour Coun­cil. If the par­ties can­not come to agree­ment in this fo­rum, the fed­er­a­tion could ini­ti­ate a protest against the re­new­ables pro­gramme.

“The fed­er­a­tion agrees that the economy should re­duce its re­liance on fos­sil fu­els and in­crease the use of en­ergy from wa­ter, sun­light and wind,” it said in a state­ment when it sub­mit­ted the ap­pli­ca­tion. “How­ever, the tran­si­tion to [a] low car­bon economy must be just and must ad­dress who owns and con­trols these sources of en­ergy and how lo­cal pro­duc­tion and jobs will be cre­ated.”

Cosatu spokesper­son Sizwe Pamla ex­pressed con­cern that the department of en­ergy ap­peared to be go­ing ahead again with the re­new­ables pro­gramme. But he said Cosatu would first fo­cus on protests against cor­rup­tion and state cap­ture be­fore de­cid­ing on how to pro­ceed over re­new­ables.

This week, the Na­tional En­ergy Reg­u­la­tor of South Africa is hold­ing the first hear­ing of an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the stalled re­new­ables pro­gramme. Nersa said Eskom and the South African Wind En­ergy As­so­ci­a­tion made sub­mis­sions to it on Thurs­day last week.

It has been crit­i­cised be­cause the in­quiry has taken months to get go­ing, and now the reg­u­la­tor says the hear­ings will be closed to the pub­lic. —

“If I were one of these IPPs, es­pe­cially the con­cen­trated so­lar power guys, I would sue”

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