Budget Speech fails to address issues of cheaper electricity and access to clean energy
With the possibility of a severe rise in the cost of electricity looming over South Africans, the budget speech failed to address the dire need for ambitious infrastructure investment in renewable energy, which will lower costs of electricity generation and increase access to electricity for all South Africans. Investment in new infrastructure should not include new coal fired stations nor new nuclear build, as these pose a great risk to the country’s overall wellbeing and do not deliver on energy access nor carbon emission reduction.
While the proposed carbon tax should ensure that the true cost of carbon intensive industries are included in their costing, its application in 2015 might be too little too late. The true cost of the carbon intensive industry includes currently hidden costs of air, land and water pollution, health impacts and water shortage implications. In the case of Kusile the hidden costs could be as much as R60.6 billion per year that the new coal-fired power station operates. In addition, climate impacts will exacerbate existing socio-economic problems.
Revenue generated from the tax should help increase funding support for energy conversion and emission reductions and potentially further incentivise the development of clean technologies, energy efficiency and accelerating the pace of low carbon development.
Greenpeace is concerned about the proposed support for bio fuels as this may detract from clean energy production and may compromise food security. Investments in solar and wind are options that go a long way in addressing the concerns of job creation as shown in the Energy [R]evolution scenario. South Africa can create over 150 000 new direct jobs in the energy sector in less than 20 years, and at the same time save the environment from irredeemable harm.
An Energy [R]evolution in SA would result in 49% of electricity produced from renewable sources by 2030, increasing to 94% by 2050. Greenpeace believes that greater investment in renewable energy technology is urgently required to transition to a low carbon economy which is free from the polluting effects of coal and dangers of nuclear.
Climate and Energy Campaigner