Thank you to everyone who supported our Mandela Day march to the presidency demanding an emergency renewable energy plan. Whether you took to the streets, signed the petition, or helped spread the word, we value your support and role in the movement.
One week after our march, the president announced his energy plan. It had some good, some bad, and some complicated elements in it. The good news is renewable energy was front and centre as the key to solving our interconnected energy and climate crisis.
Thanks to everyone who has continued pushing for a renewable energy future. Due in large part to the continued and collective efforts of our movement, polluting, harmful, and expensive energy options like new coal featured nowhere in the president’s energy plan.
There is much that is worthy of celebration in the president’s plan, like incentivising rooftop solar, doubling renewable energy in the next bid window, and Eskom’s plans to manufacture solar and storage. There are also several things we worry about, like the role of gas, the possible fast-tracking of powerships, and the lack of policies to encourage progressive, socially owned renewable energy.
Some bad news is that the same minister who failed to deliver on the last emergency energy plan will be in charge of delivering on large parts of this plan, namely, Minister Mantashe and his dysfunctional Department of Mineral Resources & Energy (DMRE). We know that he will continue to push for polluting and expensive energy projects that put the profits of an elite few over people and the planet.
So, now that the president’s plan is out, we cannot afford to become passive. There’s a lot more work to be done in ensuring a rapid and just transition to renewable energy that provides safe, clean and affordable energy for all. Now is the time to push even harder for the energy future we want. Let’s keep up the pressure until we have built an energy future that delivers on climate and energy justice!
Alex on behalf of the Climate Justice Coalition.