Voices From Under a Dark Cloud: Towards a Just Transition in the Coalfields of South Africa

  • A new documentary video entitled ‘Voices from under a dark cloud: Towards a Just Transition in the coalfields of South Africa’ was launched on Tuesday this week.
  • The 30-minute documentary highlights the challenges and opportunities that come with the phasing out of coal in Mpumalanga, with a specific focus on the eMalahleni and Steve Tshwete municipalities, where most of the 11 coal fired power stations in the province are located. 
  • The guest speaker at the launch was Eskom CEO, André de Ruyter, who emphasised that new build solar and wind projects must be built in Mpumalanga. 

De Ruyter explained that transmission grid feed in capacity in the Northern Cape, where solar and wind resources are the highest in the country, is full. Eskom would have to expand the transmission grid in the Northern Cape by building 101 new substations and about 1 000 km of new transmission grid over the next decade if the province were to be the focal point for renewable energy investment. Eskom does not have the capital or time to do this

“We have an opportunity to leverage our existing transmission grid. As we shut down coal-fired power stations, we can increasingly use the grid capacity that is made available by providing access to renewable energy investments in the Mpumalanga province. The existing grid is a great enabler of the just energy transition,” said De Ruyter.

The documentary, directed by Joelle Chesselet, was produced by a consortium – Trade & Industrial Policy Strategies (TIPS), the National Labour and Economic Development Institute, groundWork and Peta Wolpe, the managing director of Sustainability Energy Africa.

Author: Bryan Groenendaal

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