Kusile coal-fired Power Station protest, South Africa

One of the world's four largest coal-fired Power Stations, the Kusile Powerplant, sparks protests over its environmental impacts.


<div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Description</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld"></td><td class="columns"><div class="less">The Kusile power station is a coal-fired power plant project sponsored by the South African state electricity utility Eskom. Originally, Eskom proposed a plant consisting of six 900 MW coal-fired generating units, adding up to a total generating capacity of 5,400 MW.</div><a class="seemore" href="#">See more...</a><div class="more" style="display:none">After an environmental impact assessment was conducted in 2006 and a Record of Decision was received in 2007, the total capacity had to be reduced to 4,800 MW. The Ministry of Environmental Affairs and Tourism had revised the Record of Decision and finally issued the environmental authorization for the project in March 2008. The project has been delayed from the initial planned commissioning date set for April 2011.<br/><br/>The proposition as well as the construction phase of the plant were accompanied by protest organized by Greenpeace Africa. In September 2011, Greenpeace Africa, together with the Business Enterprises unit of the University of Pretoria, published a report calculating the full costs of the Kusile and other plants. They summed up the costs from climate change, water use as well as the impact on environment and health. They estimated that Kusile would cause damage costing South Africa between 31.2 to 60.6 billion Rand per year.<br/><br/>Next to publishing reports and articles about Kusile, activists from Greenpeace Africa also set up coordinated action by driving and dumping three trucks filled with coal to the front of the Eskom Megawatt Park, unloading five tonnes of coal outside the company's offices.<br/><br/>In November 2011, in opposition to the construction of the plant as well as to protest South Africa's involvement in coal in general, Greenpeace activists chained themselves the plant's front gate and climbed a crane at the facility. They chose to do so only weeks before the country was hosting the Durban Climate Change Conference from 28 November to 11 December 2011. During the incident, nine people were arrested by authorities at Kusile.<br/><br/>Although the protests have stirred the debate about coal in South Africa and have contributed to a delay in construction of the Kusile coal-fired power station, the project is still under construction and the first unit synchronization of Kusile Unit 1 is now scheduled for the first half of 2017.<br/><br/>In summary, as Patrick Bond has written, "South Africa’s example is not encouraging. First, the Pretoria national government and its Eskom parastatal electricity generator have recently increased South Africa’s already extremely high emissions levels, on behalf of the country’s ‘Minerals-Energy Complex’. This problem is well known in part because of the failed civil society campaigns against the world’s third and fourth largest coal-fired power plants (Eskom’s Medupi and Kusile), whose financing in 2010 included the largest-ever World Bank project loan and whose subcontractor includes the ruling party’s investment arm in a blatant multi-billion rand conflict of interest. Other climate campaigns have made little dent against the guzzling mining and smelting industries which chew up South Africa’s coal-fired electricity and export the profits."<br/><br/><a class="seeless" href="#">(See less)</a></div></td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Basic Data</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Name</td><td>Kusile coal-fired Power Station protest, South Africa</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Country</td><td><a href="/country/south-africa">South Africa</a></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Province</td><td>Mpumalanga Province</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Site</td><td>Hartbeesfontein and Klipfontein farms, Nkangala District</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Accuracy of Location</td><td>HIGH local level</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Source of Conflict</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Type of Conflict (1st level)</td><td>Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Type of Conflict (2nd level)</td><td>Coal extraction and processing<br /> Thermal power plants</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Specific Commodities</td><td><a href='/commodity/land'>Land</a><br /><a href='/commodity/coal'>Coal</a></td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Project Details and Actors</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Project Details</td><td class="columns">The proposed Kusile coal-fired power station was originally proposed to hold six 900 MW coal-fired generating units, guaranteeing a generating capacity of 5,400 MW. By August 2008 however, the total capacity has been reduced to 4,800 MW.</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Project Area (in hectares)</td><td> 1,355 hectares</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Level of Investment (in USD)</td><td>approx. 10,140,990,630 USD</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Type of Population</td><td>Unknown</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Potential Affected Population</td><td>Approx. 219,403 (according to Greenpeace report 2011)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Start Date</td><td>01/03/2006</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">End Date</td><td>01/12/2011</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Company Names or State Enterprises</td><td><a href='/company/eskom'>ESKOM</a> from <a href='/country-of-company/south-africa'><small>South Africa</small></a><br /><a href='/company/alstom'>Alstom</a> from <a href='/country-of-company/france'><small>France</small></a></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">International and Financial Institutions</td><td><a href='/institution/world-bank'>The World Bank <small>(WB)</small></a></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Environmental justice organisations and other supporters</td><td>Greenpeace Africa: http://www.greenpeace.org/africa</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">The Conflict and the Mobilization</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)</td><td>LATENT (no visible organising at the moment)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">When did the mobilization begin</td><td>In REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Groups Mobilizing</td><td>International ejos<br /> Local ejos</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Forms of Mobilization</td><td>Blockades<br /> Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)<br /> Creation of alternative reports/knowledge<br /> Involvement of national and international NGOs<br /> Land occupation<br /> Media based activism/alternative media<br /> Objections to the EIA<br /> Public campaigns<br /> Sabotage<br /> Occupation of buildings/public spaces<br /> Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Impacts</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Environmental Impacts</td><td><strong>Potential: </strong>Air pollution, Soil contamination, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Socio-economic Impacts</td><td><strong>Potential: </strong>Loss of livelihood</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Outcome</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Project Status</td><td>Under construction</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Pathways for conflict outcome / response</td><td>Criminalization of activists<br /> Repression<br /> Violent targeting of activists<br /> Application of existing regulations</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Do you consider this as a success?</td><td>No</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Why? Explain briefly.</td><td>Although the protests have stirred the debate about coal in South Africa and have contributed to a delay in construction of the Kusile coal-fired power station, the project is still under construction and the first unit synchronisation of Kusile Unit 1 is now scheduled for the first half of 2017.</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Sources and Materials</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">References</td><td><table><tr><td><p> The Center for Media and Democracy, Kusile Power Station, SourceWatch Database,<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Kusile_Power_Station " target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> Business Enterprises, University of Pretoria (Pty) Ltd, (2011), The External Cost of Coal-Fired Power Generation: The case of Kusile, Prepared by Business Enterprises at University of Pretoria (Pty) Ltd for Greenpeace Africa and Greenpeace International, 29 September 2011,<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.greenpeace.org/africa/Global/africa/publications/coal/FULL%20SCIENTIFIC%20PAPER%20139%20pages.pdf" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Links</td><td><table><tr><td><p> Kusile Power Station Project, ESKOM Homepage,<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.eskom.co.za/Whatweredoing/NewBuild/Pages/Kusile_Power_Station.aspx " target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> Greenpeace stages protest at South African coal power station, Associated Press, The Guardian, 7 November 2011,<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2011/nov/07/greenpeace-protest-south-africa-coal " target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> Greenpeace Protests South African Coal Power Station, by Donna Bryson, Associated Press, Huffington Post, 7 November 2011,<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/07/greenpeace-protests-coal-power-south-africa_n_1079468.html" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> Kusile coal power plant, South Africa, Banktrack.org, April 2011,<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.banktrack.org/show/dodgydeals/kusile_coal_power_plant#tab_dodgydeals_basics" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Media Links</td><td><table><tr><td><p> Protest at coal power station, Multimedia South Africa, news24,<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.news24.com/Multimedia/South-Africa/Greenpeace-protests-coal-power-station-20111107 " target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> Top 10: Pics from Kusile Action, Greenpeace Africa,<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.greenpeace.org/africa/en/Multimedia/slideshows/Top-10-Pics-from-Kusile-Action/" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Other Documents</td><td><table><tr><td><p><strong>The construction site for Eskom's Kusile power plant near eMalahleni, Mpumalanga. 17 January 2015</strong> eNCA/Bianca Bothma<br/><a class="refanch small" href="https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/Kusile_Power_Plant.JPG" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Meta Information</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Last update</td><td>19/09/2015</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div>
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