Category Archives: DoE

DoE unveils S.Africa’s first compulsory energy efficiency label

ESI Africa, 17 May, 2016.

South Africa’s Department of Energy today launched a new energy efficiency label that will become mandatory for household appliances.

Energy minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson revealed the new label at African Utility Week in Cape Town saying that a culture of saving energy was still “at a rudimentary phase” in South Africa.

Joemat Pettersson said it was an “uncomfortable truth that South Africa is among the least energy efficient countries in the world. When there is loadshedding, South Africans
look for more energy, rather than saving energy.”

Read the full article here.

Government dragging its heels in nuclear court case

SAFCEI, 16 May, 2016.

According to the court rules, Friday 13th was the day government was supposed to respond to civil society’s application to the high court, but failed to deliver their answering affidavits by this date.

“We have instructed our lawyers to apply to the court to force the government to respond,” stated liziwe McDaid, SAFCEI spokesperson. “We believe that the government is once again dragging its heels in responding”,

SAFCEI launched its court papers on October 12th 2015, and then waited for months for the Minister of Energy to provide the records of the decisions being challenged. In that period, SAFCEI and ELA generously allowed the government extensions which eventually meant that government only provided the requisite documents on 16th February 2016.    The nature of these documents led to a SAFCEI and ELA amending and supplementing its court papers, and the government deadline for responding to them was the 13th May 2016.

On the 6 May 2016, the state attorney’s office wrote to our legal team, asking for further extended timeframe. While SAFCEI and ELA will accept service of the answering affidavits on 20 May 2016, they have instructed their lawyers to issue a rule 30A notice to protect against further delays. The rule 30A notice was served on the State Attorney today.

SAFCEI and ELA have taken the government to court to stop what they believe is a flawed and illegal non transparent nuclear procurement process.   “Sensible South Africans want to see good governance.  The constitution and the laws of the country require a fair and transparent nuclear procurement process, and it is not a fair and transparent process when government makes decisions behind closed doors. Nor can it be fair and transparent while the government continually delays the matter from being aired in the courts.  If following the laws of the land becomes optional, then that will open the doors wide to corruption and government capture.” said SAFCEI Executive Director, Buddist Venerable Tsondru.

Industrialised Nations Must Lead an Exit Strategy for Fossil Fuels

RMI, The Guardian, Raainer Baake, 11 April 2016.

This article was originally published on theguardian.com and is reprinted here with permission.

At the UN climate conference in Paris in December 2015, 195 countries concluded a groundbreaking climate accord. They agreed to limit global warming to well below 2C to avoid extremely dangerous and irreversible climate change.

The international community’s remaining emission “budget” is less than 1,000 gigatonnes of CO2. The Paris agreement is intended to ensure as quickly as possible that the annual global emissions go down, the budget is stretched, and the net emissions of greenhouse gases are reduced to zero over a few decades.

The challenge of limiting the combustion of oil, coal and gas to this budget is enormous in view of the fossil reserves still underground. If we were to use all the known and probable reserves to generate energy, global emissions would amount to around 15,000 gigatonnes of CO2. So limiting global warming to 2C means this: of the 15,000 thousand gigatonnes of CO2, we need to leave at least 14,000 underground…

Read the full, frightening article here.

Big nuclear build makes no climate or economic sense

Business Day, Richard Halsey, 18 April, 2016

THE climate negotiations in Paris set in place national commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This prompted some support for nuclear as a climate-friendly alternative to electricity-generation, due to its low operational emissions.

There are, however, inherent problems with nuclear plants — including high construction costs, radioactive waste, decommissioning requirements, long construction times, and disaster-management plans…

Research done by the Energy Research Centre at UCT found that an over-investment in nuclear will decrease SA’s ability to invest in small-scale and more cost-effective technologies. It is a classic case of putting all our eggs in one basket. And the Energy Research Centre data suggests it is the wrong basket…

So, if there are better options from both a climate change and economic point of view, we must again ask why the government is pushing for this nuclear build. Vested interests and out-of-date planning documents are not justification enough…

Click here for the full article

SA planned binding nuclear deal with Russia

Carol Paton, BDLive, 31 March, 2016.

NEW proof has emerged that SA intended to sign a binding deal with Russia to buy a fleet of nuclear reactors, bypassing public finance management rules along the way.

This is contained in court papers lodged on Wednesday by the Southern African Faith Communities Environmental Initiative and Earthlife Africa in the High Court in Cape Town.

The lobby groups, which are asking the court to declare the inter-governmental agreements on nuclear energy signed in 2014 unlawful, secured the new information through court processes that compelled the government to provide the record of decisions on the deal.

Among the records provided is an explanatory memorandum drafted by the state law adviser in November 2013 on the draft Russian deal, which makes clear — they say — that the deal was “intended” and was “understood as creating a firm commitment that Russia would construct the required nuclear plants in SA”.

The state law adviser’s memo has been long sought by the media and opponents of the forthcoming nuclear procurement as it was widely rumoured at the time that the office had given a strong warning that the proposed agreement was binding in nature, had budgetary implications and had to be debated publicly before it could be adopted…

Supplementary papers lodged in court on Wednesday argue that the state law adviser’s opinion “confirms the plain meaning of the obligation created by the Russian inter-governmental agreement … and the binding nature and specificity of the agreement reached”.

It was this opinion that is believed to have caused both then finance minister Pravin Gordhan and the then energy minister Ben Martins to oppose the signing of the agreement. Both were subsequently moved out of their positions by President Jacob Zuma in May 2014. Then director-general of energy Nelisiwe Magubane was a third casualty of the drama and quit after coming under pressure to support the agreement.

Opposition from Mr Martins, Mr Gordhan, and senior government officials to the agreement had the effect of postponing the signing for almost a year. In September 2014, with new Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson in place, SA and Russian-owned energy firm Rosatom signed a new version of the deal in Brussels…

Read the full article here.