Following the stunning announcement on Friday – the resignation of Eskom CEO Brian Molefe – Greenpeace said that this move would be beneficial to the country’s overall energy mix strategy, specifically renewables.

In a statement, Greenpeace Africa’s senior climate and energy campaign manager, Melita Steele, said: “Since Brian Molefe was personally spearheading Eskom’s anti-renewable energy campaign, this news is good for all South Africans.”

“It is now time to question Molefe’s single minded determination for nuclear to go ahead in this country, and to make sure that Eskom’s new CEO is someone who is able to lead the utility into a clean, renewable energy future that puts the interests of South Africans first.”

Greenpeace on State of Capture report

“The Public Protector’s report confirms what Greenpeace has repeatedly said: vested interests and corruption in the energy sector are clearly central to the energy choices made in South Africa,” the global organisation said in a statement in response to the release of the State of Capture report earlier this month.

The statement highlighted that Molefe was both a key figure in the report, and that he and the Eskom board had been running an anti-renewable energy campaign, focused instead on pushing for expensive and unnecessary nuclear energy.

“This undermines the prioritisation of renewable energy, which would enhance South Africa’s energy future, strengthen the economy and deliver affordable, safe, clean electricity to the people of South Africa,” the organisation said.

Researchers from the CSIR research facility released on Thursday at a renewables conference in Cape Town, the re-optimised energy model presented by the CSIR – free of the artificial constraints and policy adjustments imposed by government – does not include any new nuclear power generation and shows a decline in coal-based electricity production from 2020, Greenpeace explained.

“The model takes into account the generation costs of all electricity technologies for South Africa and selects according to the least cost technology. Importantly, the CSIR model shows that the optimal least-cost Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) model is one of increasing solar and wind energy with a decrease in existing coal, nuclear, hydro and natural gas.

“Over the past months, many experts have highlighted the need for an updated Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) to guide the energy mix decisions taken by South African, and Greenpeace believes that without this plan we are effectively procuring electricity in the dark,” the environmental organisation said.