Numsa, Transform RSA obtain interdict to block Eskom from signing IPP contracts

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The urgent court application brought by the two organisations on Monday night were to interdict and restrain Eskom from concluding the 27 renewable energy projects, which include power purchase agreements, pending the finalisation of the case.

NUMSA believes that the signing of these contracts would be detrimental for the working class of Mpumalanga and the country as a whole.

"However‚ counsel for the Minister informed the court that whilst there is no interdict granted‚ the signing will however be postponed until the 27 March 2018 when the matter is finally disposed of in court". The union argues in court papers that the utility already has excess capacity and signing the deals would force coal-fired power plants to shut down, resulting in job losses. "All stakeholders should be afforded an opportunity to engage with Eskom, Nersa and the minister on these issues", the union and Transform RSA, a civil-society group, said in the application. Energy minister Jeff Radebe, however, said that the court had refused to grant an interdict against Eskom or the Minister and that nothing prevented Eskom and the independent power producers (IPPs) from signing the deals today.

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The court found that our application meets the standard for urgency and therefore granted us the interdict.

Numsa also claims the IPP rollout will cause a dramatic spike in the price of electricity because IPPs are more costly than coal-fired power plants. The combination of all these factors will have dire consequences for the working class and the poor. The more one does it, the cheaper it gets.

Because of these underlying fundamentals, the recently reached tipping point of solar PV and wind being significantly cheaper than coal will be impossible to reverse ever again, says the CSIR.

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He added that the department will continue to defend the right of consumers to have access to cost efficient clean energy that will bring much needed investment in South Africa, as well as jobs and small business entrepreneurial opportunities in rural communities. The country's power mix has always been dominated by coal.

According to Martin, these include a goal-directed transition away from coal-fired power, the creation of new jobs in this transition, a direct contribution to SA's carbon emissions reduction targets, and investment growth that would strengthen the South African economy.

"Eskom was planning to sign these agreements despite the fact that a previous application‚ by the Coal Transporters Forum to interdict them from signing is still pending at the North Gauteng High Court".

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