The need for countries to transition from coal and nuclear electricity generation to a renewable energy supply has become a necessity in light of the climate change crisis that now threatens our survival. South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Programme Process (REI4P) was one of the programmes identified by the government as a climate change flagship programme. Launched in 2011 the REI4P was tasked with deploying 3 725 MW of renewable energy by 2016.
We believe that the REI4P model of development is flawed, in that it is reliant on renewable energy companies, operating for profit, that are expected to deliver socio-economic benefits for affected communities. The balance of power is unequal, as in the mining sector on which these expectations are based. The model of renewable energy development is therefore similarly unsound. However, South African has entered into 20 year contracts for the delivery of renewable energy using this highly problematic development model. This review critically examines the current REI4P model of socio-economic development implementation. More specifically, it asks whether the REI4P is creating decent full time jobs to its maximum potential; delivering services to those affected communities, and empowering communities to identify and implement opportunities beyond the renewable energy projects.
4 things to take forward from the discussion:
- Immediate need to coordinate a think tank around change of rules to the REIPPPP that speaks to the model around the bidding process and socio-economic impact as well as a range of other issues.
- We must continue fighting! Fighting anti-nuclear, fighting for socially owned renewable energy and remind government of its commitments to reduce South Africa’s impact on climate change.
- Emphasis on the just transition and the need for a paradigm shift including around the model of delivery of renewable energy and ownership.
- Importance of knowing our rights, having governance and capacity building.
Amandla! Forums [28/03/2017]