Job creation major concern for Durban environmentalists

South Durban Community Environmental Alliance,Coordinator Desmond D'sa. PHOTO supplied.

THE South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA) says although they welcome Energy Minister Jeff Radebe’s signing of 27 renewable energy projects they are concerned about the prospect of job creation in local poor communities.

Radebe signed a R56bn contract, expected to add 2 300 MW of electricity to the national grid over the next five years, with 27 independent renewable energy power producers on Wednesday.

Acording to SDCEA Coordinator, Desmond D’sa, they would have preferred it that the projects be rolled out in local communities, allowing small business to be part of process which will in turn create business in communities.

“We welcome the decision but we believe it does not do enough in addressing unemployment. We will be raising this issue on 19 April when we meet with the National Energy Regulator (NERSA),” said D’sa.

Meanwhile, Radebe said that the government had no direct financial involvement in the investment, except for providing support to Eskom “in the event of default by the buyer. “South Africans will hold a majority 57.8% share in the project companies, while the balance will be controlled by the Public Investment Corporation and other institutions,” he said.

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Last month the union and TransformRSA approached the North Gauteng High Court in an attempt to block the partnerships,which the two organisations argued would result in coal-sector job losses. The case was heard in the High Court on March 27 and, on March 29, the case was dismissed.

Twenty-four of the projects are either solar photovoltaic (PV) or onshore wind developments, but the list also includes the Redstone Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) project, in the Northern Cape, the Kruisvallei mini-hydro project, in the Free State, and the Ngodwana Energy biomass project, to be fuelled using waste Sappi wood chips, in Mpumalanga.

The 12 solar PV projects are listed as Aggeneys, Bokamoso, De Wildt, Droogfontein 2, Dyason’s Klip 1, Dyason’s Klip 2, Greefspan 2, Konkoonsies 2, Loriesfontein Orange, Sirius 1, Waterloo and Zeerust. The 12 wind projects were named as Copperton, Excelsior, Garob Wind Farm, Garob Valley, Kangnas, Oyster Bay, Perdekraal East, Roggeveld, Karusa, Nxuba, Soetwater and Wesley-Ciskei.

 

 

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  AUTHOR
Rudy Nkgadima

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