Carol Paton Editor at large

The government should drop its plan to commission new coal power from independent power producers (IPPs) or face legal action, environmental lobby group the Centre for Environmental Rights (CER) told MPs on Tuesday. Two years ago the government called for bids for 1,000MW of coal power by IPPs and selected two consortia to build the stations. The 1,000MW of new coal was pencilled in to the government’s draft Integrated Resource Plan — its long-term energy plan — whichwas released at the beginning of September. Parliament’s portfolio committee on energy is holding hearings on the plan before it is made final by energy minister Jeff Radebe. The government argues that even though energy demand has decreased and the coal IPPs are no longer required, they should still go ahead with the plan. Prices for new renewable energy are now cheaper than for new coal. The objective of the Integrated Resource Plan is to model the most cost-effective way to meet SA’s energy needs. “Policy adjustments...

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