The long awaited decision by the World Bank whether to fund new-build coal in SA was announced late last Thursday. We at Project 90 by 2030 are very disappointed that this loan was approved without a condition that a substantial portion be utilized for immediate Renewable Energy supply. The appeal from many communities, environmental groups, academics and NGOs around the globe who called for the loan to be declined has been united and strong – community groups protested outside Eskom’s offices in Westville and an Avaaz campaign received 12,257 signatures.
South Africa urgently needs to start moving towards a clean renewable future rather than locking ourselves into a dirty carbon intensive path for the next 50 years. Investing the World Bank money into renewable forms of energy would help reduce our carbon footprint and provide the impetus we need to start investing in clean and sustainable energy sources.
Not only does burning coal pollute the environment and contribute to climate change, it comes with a host of other problems such as acid mine drainage, ground and water pollution, extensive water use and health effects for those working or living near to coal plants.
Our renewable energy expert, Robert Fischer, has worked out that should the World Bank loan of US$3.75bn be spent on renewable energy a 625 MW large scale Solar PV plant could be installed, or 2 GW large scale wind farms built. At the very least, over one million Solar Water Heaters could be installed immediately.
Protesters gather outside Eskom’s headoffice in Westville (picture credit to GroundWork)