International environmental organization Greenpeace has urged South Africa’s electricity public utility Eskom to cancel its coal-fired power station Kusile in order to avoid the twin crises of unaffordable electricity and water scarcity.
In an open letter published in the South African media Wednesday, Greenpeace said electricity prices are set to jump by 16% again this winter, and the country faces an electricity crisis, as South Africans are progressively unable to afford the price of electricity.
It said that not only would people increasingly struggle to afford electricity, but that in addition, the type of massive coal-fired power stations Eskom is investing in will use huge amounts of scarce water, thereby worsening South Africa’s emerging water crisis.
“Eskom continues to make public statements about how important addressing the water crisis is. However words are not enough. Despite using the latest technology, for every unit of electricity produced, Kusile will use 173 times more water than wind power would use.
”Clearly, Kusile’s water use is unsustainable, and an unacceptable risk for South Africa. Investing in renewables will lower the price of electricity in the long term, and create an electricity system that is able to deliver electricity to all South Africans ” said Melita Steele, climate and energy campaigner for Greenpeace Africa.
“The clock is ticking. What Greenpeace would like to see is Eskom averting disaster, and announcing the cancellation of Kusile, instead of announcing steadily increasing electricity prices to pay for new coal-fired power stations” Steele added.
Kusile is the second most advanced coal-fired power plant project in Eskom after Medupi power station, where construction commenced in 2007.
The station will consist of six units each rated at approximately 800 MW installed capacity, giving a total of 4800 MW.
As such it will be one of the largest coal-fired power stations in the world, when completed.