WWF report calls for 50% renewable energy by 2030



Posted on 17 August 2010
Wind turbines
© Sarah Leen / WWFEnlarge

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is advocating that generating 50% of South Africa’s electricity from renewable resources by 2030 is quite feasible. This is despite the country’s heavy dependence on coal to produce electricity.

A report titled: “50% by 2030: Renewable Energy in a Just Transition to Sustainable Electricity Supply”, was released today at CIRCA on Jellico in Johannesburg. The report features WWF’s own views, as well as the findings and conclusions of several expert studies.

The report is aimed at encouraging broad stakeholder participation in the policy processes currently under way, including the development of a provisional Integrated Resource Plan (IRP2010) for electricity supply for the next 20 years and the review of renewable energy policy and targets, both due to be concluded in November.

“South Africa faces critical choices around future power generation,” said WWF Climate Change Programme Manager Richard Worthington.  “The need for increased electricity capacity to meet development objectives coincides with growing awareness of the short- and long-term implications these decisions will have on the economy, society and the environment.”

Citing a study by the Energy Research Centre of the University of Cape Town, the report argues that South Africa has the potential to rapidly scale up its use of renewable energy. In combination with various energy-efficiency measures, this would result in cheaper electricity over the medium term. The report also advocates that Kusile, the next big coal-fired power station after Medupi, should be stopped, at least until the full costs and impacts have been properly evaluated in the Integrated Energy Planning process slated for next year.

“South Africa can no longer afford to neglect its renewable-energy resources,” said Worthington. “If we are to meet the Greenhouse Gas reduction commitments President Zuma made at the UN Climate Summit in Copenhagen last year, South Africa will have to set very ambitious, medium-term renewable energy targets.”