The argument by trade unions at Eskom that there is a price to be paid for the transition from coal-fired energy to renewable energy is valid. There is also, though, a price to be paid for not making that energy transition. The country needs to know what these costs are if it is to evaluate the trade-off between clean and dirty energy. While workers at power stations and mines are important stakeholders in negotiating the trade-offs, they are not the only ones. The costs are borne by all South Africans, who must pay for electricity; by businesses, which need efficient and well-priced energy; and by all present and future generations, who live with the human health and environmental consequences of energy choices. This is a debate in which everyone must rightly participate, which is exactly what SA’s energy policy encourages. An Integrated Resource Plan, which models energy demand and the relative advantages of technology options over a 20-year period, is published and updated every ...

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