Construction at
Kusile power station
 
Johannesburg, South Africa — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 07 November 2011 –  Greenpeace activists climbed a construction crane at the Kusile coal-fired power station under construction east of Johannesburg early this morning, and planned to spend the night there to protest what they called South Africa’s unnecessary dependence on coal.

Reporting this, News24 quoted Greenpeace spokesperson Fiona Musana as saying that the Kusile protest started early this morning with activists chaining themselves to the gates of the construction site. Security guards later cut the chain, and six activists then climbed a crane at the site, she added.

“Construction of this place should stop now,” Musana said.

Coal electricity plants are the main source of greenhouse gas emissions by South Africa, which hosts climate change talks in Durban later this month. Greenpeace said South Africa should be moving away from coal more rapidly, and should invest heavily in solar and wind power.

“When the world descends on Durban at the end of this month, and people everywhere hope that progress can be made in reaching a climate-saving deal, the South African government has a chance of making history as a champion for climate, for justice and the planet,” Greenpeace’s Melita Steele said in a statement today. “It should not squander that chance by letting a government-owned utility like Eskom make a mockery of the talks.”

Eskom says it needs Kusile “’ due for completion in 2016 “’ and Medupi “’ to be completed in 2015 “’ to meet rising demand for electricity.

Eskom is also planning various renewable energy projects. Last month the World Bank approved R2 billion in funding to assist Eskom with the construction of solar and wind power projects.