Greenpeace demands Eskom cleans up its act

Greenpeace confronted Eskom today [27 June 2011] by blocking one of the entrances of the Eskom headquarters with five tonnes of coal, to publicly demand that Eskom stops the construction of the Kusile coal-fired power station. “Eskom should end its addiction to coal and shift massive investments to large-scale renewable energy projects,” said Greenpeace.

At dawn, Greenpeace Africa activists used three dumper trucks to unload five tonnes of coal in front of the Eskom Megawatt Park offices, effectively blocking one of the entrances to the building with the coal. The activists held banners calling on Eskom to clean up its act and stop coal.

According to Greenpeace, the action highlights the true cost of Eskom’s addiction to coal: environmental destruction at every step, the pollution of scarce water supplies and the destruction of people’s health and wellbeing.

“Instead of locking South Africa into a dirty energy future by investing in Kusile [1], Eskom should be investing in people and green jobs,” said Greenpeace Africa’s climate and energy campaigner Melita Steele. “To date, Eskom’s investments in renewable energy are limited to tiny projects of 100MW of wind and 100MW of solar. This illustrates Eskom’s lack of commitment to a sustainable future for South Africa.”

“Greenpeace Africa’s latest report ‘The Advanced Energy [R]evolution’ [2] proves that we do not need to build Kusile. Instead, South Africa should move straight to a future powered by clean, safe and renewable sources of energy. By 2030, 50% of South Africa’s electricity should come from renewables – not only would this help in averting catastrophic climate change, but it could also create 150 000 direct jobs over the next 20 years,” said Greenpeace in a press statement.

According to Steele, “Greenpeace has tried repeatedly to engage with Eskom about its addiction to coal and nuclear energy. Eskom has however not shown any intention of changing its tune. Today Greenpeace publicly calls on Eskom to clean up its act. Eskom plays a crucial role in this country’s energy future and should lead the way in a just transition away from coal towards a clean and green future. South Africans can no longer continue paying the price for Eskom’s addiction to coal”.

[1] Kusile coal-fired power plant will be one of the biggest coal-fired power stations in the world with 4,800 MW of power production, using 17 million tons of coal per year.

[2] ‘The Advanced Energy [R]evolution: A sustainable Energy Outlook for South Africa ‘ is a detailed practical blueprint for cutting carbon emissions, replacing fossil and nuclear fuels with renewable energy (such as sun, wind and water) and energy efficiency.

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Greenpeace demands Eskom cleans up its act