Articles, Climate Change Project, News & Events, Renewable Energy


The long awaited AIDC-commissioned research – RENEWABLE ENERGY: WHERE ARE THE JOBS – A Critique Of The Government’s Socio-Economic Programme – will be launched at AIDC at 18.00 on the 28th.

Liz McDaid, the well-known researcher and social activist, will introduce her research findings and recommendations.  The meeting will be Chaired by Tasneem Essop, former Provincial Minister of Environment, Planning and Economic Development in the Western Cape and a current member of the National Planning Commission.

There will also be lots of time for questions and discussions, which can include Eskom’s threatened closure of 5 coal mines which Eskom claims to be a direct consequence of the government’s renewable energy programme.

For further information contact

Dominic Brown or Jeff Rudin
021 447 5770


RENEWABLE ENERGY Where are the jobs? 

News & Events, Programmes, Uncategorized


Concerned about rising electricity prices – want to have your say……

Send your submission to NERSA by Tuesday 20th November 2012.

Public hearings will be held next year in January, so make your voice heard, write to NERSA and ask to be put on the list to speak at the public hearings.

To find out what some of the key issues are, read this submission that has been compiled by EGI-SA – partners include Green Connection, SAFCEI, Project90x2030, GenderCC SA, and

NERSA has invited Stakeholder comments ahead of public hearings which are likely to take place between January 15 and 31, 2013 in all 9 provinces. NERSA will make a determination on February 28 and lawmakers would consider the application in March 2013. The sanctioned increases are likely to be implemented on April 1, 2013, for direct Eskom customers and July 1, 2013, for municipal customers. Comments can be made by organisations until the end of business on 20th November 2012 to: to; enquiries: Mr Charles Hlebela, Head of Communications, or Telephone: 012 401 4600; Fax: 012 401 4700; Cell: 083 646 8280.

Attached is a summarized version of a submission to be made by EGI-SA on November 20th, 2012. It has been compiled by Brenda Martin, Robert Fischer, Liz McDaid, Jesse Burton and Yvette Abrahams. Anyone wishing to endorse or copy these lobby points in their submission is free to do so. Please let us know whether you are making a submission by copying richard@90× or

Articles, News & Events, Programmes


Thursday 23rd August saw more than 40 people sharing ideas and strategies about electricity pricing and the governance of the electricity prices.

The workshop focused on the following:  Do you wonder why our electricity prices are rising so steeply? Do we need all these power stations and gridlines we hear about on tv and in newspapers? Do we have to have nuclear and fracking? And does it have to cost so much?  Is it possible to supply our electricity in a more affordable way? Does Eskom have any other option?

How do issues like corruption, lack of information, and lack of skilled people impact on electricity prices? Is there anything we can do about it?

Facilitator, Liz McDaid, emphasised that citizens need to understand the democratic government structures and how to engage in order to raise our issues, even though public participation opportunities are not offered pro-actively.  However, voices from the floor pointed out that raising our voices does not always mean that they are heard, and most people did not know how to find information on how to participate. There was general agreement that the information gained in the workshop needs to reach more people.

Participants from the workshop identified a number of follow up actions that they would take forward after the workshop.

EGI report – Atlantis workshop October 2012

Workshop Resources

A threat to good governance in SA- article March 2012

EGI briefing – REBID summary for workhops including appendix table

Electricity and Public Interest 10Qs draft 20th August 2012

MYPD process

How does buying renewable energy lead to higher or lower prices



Articles, News & Events, Programmes

Comparison of governance processes for incorporating public comment into electricity governance.

Renewable Energy is a new concept for South African decision-makers. While renewable energy is gaining its share of the world’s energy mix, South Africa has been very slow to follow this trend…….

In order to strengthen the democratic processes of public engagement in parliament, increased resources need to be made available to build capacity of both parliamentarians and research staff. Such capacity should not duplicate knowledge and expertise available in civil society but be used to meaningfully engage with such local knowledge in order to strengthen transparent and effective decision-making”.

Liz McDaid, The Green Connection

EGI Policy brief:

Benchmarking best practice and promoting accountability in the electricity sector: A comparison of processes for incorporating public comment into electricity governance.


Climate Change Project, News & Events, Programmes

Climate Change Communication Project

Climate change is a reality.

For South Africa, we need both to mitigate our emissions and to adapt to changes that are taking place in our environment. We need to ensure that we can reduce our risks, build our resilience and take advantage of new opportunities.  In order to build resilience, we need knowledge ……

In 2007, the Green Connection ran a series of climate change awareness workshops for local communities in the Succulent Karoo who have had little or no access to information about climate change in the past.

Discussing the impact of Climate Change on their lives and their future

Discussing the impact of Climate Change on their lives and their future

The Climate Change Communication Project raised awareness and built the capacity of the people of the Succulent Karoo around issues of climate change; more specifically in seven of the SKEP Priority Areas, namely the Bushmanland Inselbergs, Namaqualand Uplands, Central Namaqualand Coast, Knersvlakte, Hantam Tanqua Roggeveld, Central Breede River Valley and the Central Little Karoo.

The Succulent Karoo has a variety of stakeholders that can be affected by climate change, including those that rely on agriculture, ecotourism, natural resources such as rivers, and including those sectors of society that have influence over the response by communities to climate change, such as municipalities and government.

During 2008, we ran a series of climate change awareness workshops for local communities in the Succulent Karoo who have had little or no access to information about climate change in the past so we can help build capacity for understanding this threat to the ecosystem and how to mitigate its possible impacts. Where possible weinvolved local municipalities in this process tobuild their understanding and enhance their capacity to incorporate climate change into their policies and operations.

Part of adapting to climate change is understanding its impacts and gaining an understanding of what interventions can be implemented to enable us to improve our quality of life despite climate change.

While a key part of such understanding is that we are inevitably linked to the health of our surrounding environment, we also need to use the natural environment for food, warmth, shelter. How do we balance our needs and ensure that our children will also be able to meet their needs.

In 2009 and 2010, we built on this base and working with two pilot communities, Wuppertal and Sutherland, to assist them in choosing an intervention that will help them to adapt to climate change, address their social and environmental needs, and lead to economic empowerment for the community groups.

Operating the fuel stove

Operating the fuel stove

Safe, reliable and a cost effective fuel stove

Safe, reliable and a cost effective fuel stove








In 2012 and 2013, we worked with the Western Cape Government in helping design climate change awareness materials for their work with local authorities and citizens of the Western Cape.

For 2013 and 2014, the Green Connection wishes to extend our climate change project further and to roll out increasing numbers of smart climate interventions like fuel saving stoves…..

YOU can help.

It costs R250.00 to provide one family with a fuel saving stove which will save them searching and cutting wood, which will reduce biodiversity loss and land degradation due to de-forestation, and will increase one family’s wellbeing and energy security.

Alternative technology roll-out as part of climate change adaptation – Donate NOW!

Watch this space for updates on how these communities opted for in their climate adapted livelihoods.

For more information about Climate Change, visit


Solar Water Heating
Articles, Renewable Energy Advocacy

Advocating renewable energy project

Every day the Sun provides 20 000 times more energy than the entire planet needs. The Sun provides the energy to power the planet in a wonderful coordinated system that enables us to live our daily lives.

However, in South Africa, where we have some of the highest solar resources in the world, we are heavily dependent on fossil fuels.  Over the last few years, we have started to take baby steps towards a renewable future.  How can we ensure that we have a just transition into the future, one that safeguards livelihoods, and enhances socio-economic benefits within our finite ecological limits……

Solar Water Heating

Towards the late 2007, Sustainable Energy Africa undertook a broad investigation into the potential of renewable energy for South Africa, as well as the potential of saving electricity through modest changes to industry and residential practice.

The study drew on experts in the fields of renewable energy and energy efficiency. The outcomes of this investigation were quite surprising:

The following are extracts from the SEA presentation:

  • Electricity based on coal has provided sufficient capacity to grow the economy to this point. But right now, there is little spare capacity, and according to Eskom, with a projected 6% economic growth rate, we need to grow our electricity capacity at a similar rate in order to meet an anticipated demand of 80 000MW of electricity by about 2025.
  • Most electricity consumed is by industry and business – amounting to over 75% or three quarters of all electricity generated.
  • Experts in the energy efficiency field project that industry could easily save 20 to 25% of its current electricity use and that such energy savings would pay for themselves. UCT working with a car manufacturing company showed that the company could immediately save about 18% of their electricity using energy efficiency measures, and by so doing cut their energy bill by 25%.

Extract from energy audit summary below-


  • The total investment required for the execution of items 1 to 5 listed above is R130 000
  • The total annual energy earning for this is greater than R2M
  • The payback for these measures is less than one month

Based on Eskom current cost projections, it costs R3.5 million to save 1 MW of power while it costs R17 million to R28 million to build 1 MW.
As we have pointed out, industrial and commercial experts have pointed out that energy savings pay for themselves over a very short time. Therefore the cost to government is reduced. The question is can we incentivise these savings in a way that enables commerce and industry to move swiftly. For example, if we were to implement cost savings in the industrial and commercial sector of 10% by 2009, we would have saved over 3000MW

We have seen that we can save electricity, sufficiently to avoid blackouts in the short term. And we achieve this without any sacrifice in comfort, standard of living, and productivity. In fact we will be more economically competitive because of reduced input costs.

However, we need increasing amounts of electricity as we make the transition from a developing country to a developed nation with all citizens healthy, fulfilled and economically active, and with adequate provision for the youth and the aged.

How do we do this?

A study released in February 2006 examined all available renewable energies within the South African context, and concluded that if we invested now, renewable energy could indeed meet much of our electricity requirements into the future cost effectively. The report is available at If the costs used in this study are updated, and it is put together with the energy savings, it appears that it is more cost effective to invest in renewables NOW (despite their perceived high upfront costs).

What about jobs?

Renewable energy is a major creator of direct jobs. Let us compare Renewable energy technologies with conventional coal and nukes. As you can see, we get 25% more jobs than coal and 90% more jobs than nuclear per unit energy generated.
We cannot continue to use coal because of climate change pressures. (With South Africa producing a per capital carbon emissions higher than most developed countries in the world, we will come under increasing pressure to shift to alternative energy source). Nuclear energy comes with several unaccounted for costs – and high risks, particularly given the “terrorism threat”. It is also dependent on a finite resource – uranium. So eventually, we will end up generating our electricity from renewable resources. But if the costs of moving to renewables now is equivalent to continuing as business as usual – why don’t we move now? We can lead rather than follow.

For more information about where you can see the presentation, please contact Megan at Sustainable Energy Africa or visit For more info about renewable energy potential contact Liz McDaid –


Environmental Impact Assessment – PPC expansion

Involving communities in the Environmental Impact Assessment process – Riebeek West and the PPC expansion.

In 2006, the Green Connection was approached by a group of concerned residents from the Riebeek Valley near Malmesbury in the Western Cape. Residents expressed concern with the way in which the EIA was being run, and felt that they lacked the expertise and experience to ensure that their voices were heard.

PPC was proposing to expand its cement production facility in the valley. Residents were concerned that such expansion would lead to a significant impact on their way of life and wanted The Green Connection to guide and facilitate their input into the EIA process.

Residents expressed concern with the way in which the EIA was being run, and felt that they lacked the expertise and experience to ensure that their voices were heard. The Green Connection worked with the residents, assisting them to obtain extensions to deadlines so that they could read and understand the voluminous documents, assisted with providing commentary on the documents, and watchdogging the process to ensure the people’s environmental rights were not violated.

The EIA report has now been finalised and is awaiting a decision from the Western Cape Provincial authorities.
If you want to know more about the specific inputs into the PPC EIA, or if you are in a similar situation and would like help, contact