- Judge Anthony Millar in the North Gauteng High Court has dismissed a landmark application brought by two environmental justice NGOs – the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance and Groundwork – to review and set aside the Department of Environmental Affairs (DMRE)’ decision to grant Eskom’s proposed 3000MW gas power plant an environmental authorisation.
- The judgment found six out of seven grounds for review of the decision were without merit and could not succeed but did rule that the public participation process was deficient.
The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, and for Eskom, presented their arguments, focusing on the policies of government, arguing that deference should be given to the decisions made by government, and that the public participation process met the minimum requirements of the EIA Regulations.
Link to Eskom’s 3000MW combine cycle gas power plant and associated infrastructure project scoping report HERE
The fight continues
According to a broad coalition of environmental and climate justice groups, government’s current plans to procure an additional 3000 megawatts of new gas power are vague, unnecessary and threaten the Constitutional rights of people living in South Africa.
Environmental and climate justice groups groundWork, the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA), Natural Justice and the Centre for Environmental Rights (CER), submitted objections to the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) on plans proposed by the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy on 25 August 2022 for Eskom to procure 3000 megawatts (MW) of gas power in Richards Bay.
This is over and above the 3000 MW of gas capacity provided for in South Africa’s electricity planning document – the Integrated Resource Plan for Electricity (IRP) of 2019, for which a Ministerial determination was issued in 2020, though procurement has not yet commenced.
The groups argue that the proposed determination is fundamentally unreasonable and irrational and procedurally inadequate. “As far as we know, this proposed gas capacity is not based on any energy modelling or informed by any impact assessments”, says Desmond D’Sa of SDCEA. In the wake of a new bout of load-shedding and South Africa’s worst load shedding year so far, the groups highlight that gas is not the solution to the electricity crisis. Read more
Author: Bryan Groenendaal