The Pollution & Climate Change Team has participated and is participating in numerous environmental impact assessment processes, including in relation to: various of the proposed independent power producer coal-fired power stations, the Thabametsi climate change impact assessment, the retrofitting of flue gas desulphurisation at Medupi coal-fired power station; and phase 2 of the Mokolo Crocodile Water Augmentation Project. Should you require copies of any of these documents or the CER’s submissions, please contact us.
Eskom’s non-compliance with emission standards
Letter on behalf of groundWork, Earthlife Africa Johannesburg, the Highveld Environmental Justice Network and Vaal Environmental Justice Alliance to the Department of Environmental Affairs requesting a meeting to discuss a way forward on Eskom’s non-compliance with emission standards (31 May 2017)
Eskom’s postponement application in respect of Medupi and Matimba (24 February 2017)
Open letter to Eskom on renewable energy (8 September 2016)
On 8 September 2016, thirty non-governmental organisations addressed a letter to the Minister of Energy, the Minister of Public Enterprises, the Minister of Environmental Affairs, the Minister of Health urging them to take all steps necessary to ensure that Eskom honours government’s legal obligations and its renewable energy policy objectives to secure clean energy that will protect people’s health and well-being. The Chief Executive Officer of Eskom and the Chairperson of Eskom’s Board of Directors were also copied in the letter.
Open letter by 30 non-governmental organisations to cabinet members (8 September 2016)
CER’s requests for access to information
On 18 May 2016 and 2 June 2016, the Centre for Environmental Rights requested access to information relating to emission reductions, the decommissioning of coal-fired power stations and annual emission reports. On 5 October 2016, the CER received a letter from Eskom stating that the CER’s PAIA Request of 2 June 2016 has been granted. Eskom has still not made a decision in relation to the CER’s PAIA Request of 18 May 2016.
Emission reduction plans and decommissioning plans (25 April 2016)
On 25 April 2016, the CER, on behalf of groundWork, Earthlife Africa Johannesburg (ELA), the Highveld Environmental Justice Network (HEJN), and the Vaal Environmental Justice Alliance addressed a letter to Eskom in terms of which it sought copies of the latest emission reduction plans, compliance roadmaps, and decommissioning schedule and plans for all 15 of Eskom’s coal-fired power stations. On 12 May 2016, Eskom required the CER to apply for access to these document in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act – which it duly did. Since then, Eskom has asked for several extensions to provide the records, which, to date, have not been received. Eskom’s failure to make a decision in relation to the CER’s PAIA request had the result that the request was deemed to be refused. The CER appealed this refusal.The appeal was not decided. On 2 December 2016, Eskom provided the CER with a redacted record.
Objection to Eskom’s application to vary its atmospheric emission licence for Duvha Power Station (January 2014)
In January 2014, Eskom applied to amend the atmospheric emission licence issued under the National Environmental Management: Air Quality Act, 2004 (AQA) for its Duvha coal-fired power station, notwithstanding that the MEC for the Mpumalanga Department of Economic Development and Tourism had, in May 2013, dismissed various appeal grounds Eskom had raised in relation to the licence. The outcome of the application is awaited.
Key correspondence: Below are all the documents relating to this application:
Objection to Eskom’s applications to delay compliance with the minimum emission standards (December 2013)
In December 2013, national electricity utility Eskom applied for postponement of their compliance with air pollution minimum emissions standards for 16 of their power stations (see its background information document). At the same time, Eskom also applied for variation of the conditions of the air quality licences for 16 power stations.
The Centre for Environmental Rights, representing groundWork, Earthlife Africa Johannesburg (ELA), the Vaal Environmental Justice Alliance, and the following community groups: Middelburg Environmental Justice Network, Greater Middelburg Residents’ Association, Guqa Community Service Centre, Southern Africa Green Revolutionary Council, Greater Delmas Civic Movement, Highveld Environmental Justice Network, Wonderfontein Resettlement Forum, Mpumalanga Youth Against Climate Change, Outrageous Courage Youth and and Schoongesicht Community Movement, submitted detailed objections to Eskom’s submissions.
- Request to NAQO and Minister to require Eskom: to amend the Plan of Study; to conduct detailed health risk assessments; and to provide additional time for comment 8 Oct 2013
- Objection to Eskom’s applications
- Annexure 1: CER submission on variation of Kriel AEL 11 Dec 2013
- Annexure 2: CER additional submission on variation of Kriel AEL 16 Jan 2014
- Annexure 3: CER submissions on Eskom BID 19 July 2013
- Annexure 4: CER submissions on Plan of Study 23 August 2013
- Annexure 5: Health impacts of Eskom applications 2014
- Annexure 6: Summary of current annual pollutant emission rates, estimated annual average stack concentrations and Eskom’s requested emission limits
- Annexure 7: Eskom Pre-feasibility study Section 1 Executive Summary
- Annexure 8: RoD Medupi Sept 2006
- Objection to Eskom’s variation applications
- CER responses to Issues and Response Report
On about 29 May 2014, the NAQO addressed correspondence to Eskom in relation to the postponement applications for each of its stations, indicating that the applications would not be further processed unless additional information (including in relation to health impacts) was provided. The correspondence regarding the coal-fired power stations is below:
In August 2014, the CER received copies of the additional documents provided by Eskom to the NAQO further to the above request. These documents can be downloaded below:
- Acacia – Additional Information
- Arnot – Additional Information
- Camden – Additional Information
- Duvha – Additional Information
- Grootvlei – Additional Information
- Hendrina – Additional Information
- Kendal – Additional Information
- Komati – Additional Information
- Kriel – Additional Information
- Lethabo – Additional Information
- Majuba – Additional Information
- Matimba – Additional Information
- Matla – Additional Information
- Medupi – Additional Information
- Port Rex – Additional Information
- Tutuka – Additional Information
On 16 October 2014, the CER submitted additional objections to Eskom’s applications to ensure that the decision-makers are in possession of relevant information, as required by the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act, 2000. As appears from these submissions, Eskom largely failed to provide additional information regarding health impacts and regarding its future compliance with the MES – despite being specifically required to so do by the DEA. Such health information as is available (both from the study contained in the February 2014 submissions and from Eskom’s own studies) demonstrates that Eskom’s applications will have significant and severe health impacts, with enormous economic costs. Eskom’s studies were made available by the CER to the NAQO in June 2014.
As set out in the objections, the information that Eskom provided revealed that:
- elevated daily average SO2 and PM10 concentrations occur frequently throughout the region in the vicinity of Eskom’s power stations, and throughout the year; and that
- these concentrations are frequently several times higher than the ambient air quality standards and/or World Health Organisation guideline value, with consequent health impacts.
It was also argued in the objections that, since Eskom is by far the largest source of SO2 emissions in the region, the implication is that its emissions are mainly responsible for the high ambient concentrations and these health impacts. In addition, the occurrence of high ambient particulate matter (PM) concentrations in the summer months contradicts Eskom’s argument that domestic solid fuel burning is the main source of PM, and that Eskom is only a very minor contributor to ambient PM. For these and the other reasons, the submissions reiterate that Eskom’s applications must be refused.
The outcome of Eskom’s applications was announced on 24 February 2015:
- the Minister’s media statement;
- the NAQO’s presentation of these outcomes in Parliament; and
- the MES postponement outcome summary prepared by the DEA.
The outcomes of the applications, per station, are as follows:
- Port Rex
The CER has addressed three letters to the NAQO on our clients’ behalf – on 2 and 7 March 2015 and on 7 April 2015. In the first, we, requested reasons for the postponement decisions (as well as copies of all of the other MES outcomes). In the second, we asked for copies of the copies of the “compliance roadmaps” (to which reference has been made in the press) for each of the facilities granted postponement.
In the third, the CER sought urgent clarity in relation to various aspects of the NAQO’s decisions; including as to postponement periods and postponement limits.
On 8 April 2016 – more than a year after these letters were sent – we received the following responses from the NAQO: in the first, she sets out her reasons for the postponement decisions; in the second, she provides copies of the compliance roadmaps for the facilities that sought postponement; and in the third, she responds to our request for clarification regarding the postponement decisions.
Following the postponement outcomes, Eskom’s AELs were varied. On 30 March 2015, the CER addressed a letter to the relevant licensing authorities, pointing out that the licensing authorities were required to take all relevant matters into account and make variation decisions consistent with the national environmental management principles, the objectives of applicable air quality management plans, and any ambient air quality or emission standards determined in terms of AQA. As indicated in this correspondence, every one of Eskom’s coal-fired power stations is in a priority area, and, in order for licensing authorities’ decisions to “be consistent with” priority area air quality management plans, authorities should set emission standards to ensure that priority areas come into compliance with ambient air quality standards as soon as possible. Given the significant health impacts of Eskom’s operations, we called upon the licensing authorities to impose stricter emission limits in the AELs than those indicated in the NAQO’s postponement decisions; and stated that the AELs should at least contain the MES from 1 April 2015. We also requested that: the compliance roadmaps referred to in the press by the NAQO and the Minister be incorporated into the AELs in order to ensure compliance with the emission standards; and that the AELs incorporate the decommissioning dates reflected in the postponement decisions. We also requested written reasons for the licensing authorities’ decisions.
The following varied AELs were received by the CER during April 2014. All of the AELs incorporated the NAQO’s postponement decisions:
After receiving NAQO’s response, on 25 April 2016, the CER addressed a letter to Eskom,
- to ascertain each coal-fired power station’s (CFPS) latest plans to ensure compliance with:
- the emission standards in the relevant atmospheric emission licences (AELs),
- and in relation to periods not covered by the current AELs, at least the minimum emission standards (MES);
- to request copies of these compliance plans and the latest decommissioning shcdule and plans for each CFPS; and
- to ascertain the decision-making timelines and mechanisms within Eskom’s board to ensure compliance with AELs and MES, and the decommissioning schedules and plans.
Objection to Eskom’s application to increase atmospheric emissions at its Kriel Power Station (November 2013)
In November 2013, Eskom applied to amend the atmospheric emission licence issued under the National Environmental Management: Air Quality Act, 2004 (AQA) for its Kriel coal-fired power station, notwithstanding that the MEC for the Mpumalanga Department of Economic Development and Tourism had, in May 2013, dismissed various appeal grounds Eskom had raised in relation to the licence. In February 2014, the application to amend that licence was largely refused by the Nkangala District Municipality, the competent authority for atmospheric emission licences under AQA for that power station.
Key correspondence: Below are all the documents relating to this application and its outcome.
- Eskom’s application to vary its atmospheric emission licence for Kriel power station
- CER’s objection to the variation application
- Annexure 1: Notification of 8 day comment period
- Annexure 2: Extension of comment period by 3 days
- Annexure 3: Kriel exemption application
- Annexure 4: CER submissions on Plan of Study Report
- Annexure 5: Kriel Atmospheric Impact Report
- Annexure 6: Combined emissions of power station within modelling domain of about 120km x 100km
- Eskom’s response to CER’s objection
- CER’s additional submissions
- Annexure 1: Kriel Atmopsheric Impact Report (December 2013)
- Annexure 2: Kriel General Information document
- Decision of Nkangala District Municipality on variation application
- SA faces ‘dark age’ as Eskom struggles, Business Report, 3 December 2013
- Eskom needs urgent licence for its Kriel power station, Engineering News, 4 December 2013
- Eskom needs licence to keep Kriel power station going, Times Live, 4 December 2013
- Kriel power station one of many that are non-compliant, eNCA, 5 December 2014
Coal Baseload Independent Power Producers coal-fired power stations
The proposed KiPower Station
- Letter from KiPower (Pty) Ltd to the Centre for Environmental Rights (11 April 2017)
- Letter from KiPower (Pty) Ltd to the Centre for Environmental Rights (3 May 2017)
- Letter to the Minister of Environmental Affairs, Department of Environmental Affairs KiPower (Pty) Limited South Africa, and the Mpumalanga Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Land and Environmental Affairs regarding the environmental authorisation issued for the proposed KiPower Station IPP Power Station and associated infrastructure (3 April 2017)
The proposed Thabametsi Power Station
- Comments on the final climate change impact assessment and palaeontological impact assessment reports for the porposed Thabametsi IPP Coal-fired Power Station (31 July 2017)
- Annexure 1: comments on the draft climate change impact assessment and palaeontological impact assessment reports
- Annexure 1A: objections to Thabametsi integrated water use licence application
- Annexure 2: correspondence between CER and Nemai Consulting
- Annexure 3: resfusal by the Limpopo Department of Economic Development and Environmental Affairs and Tourism to grant environmental authorisation to Aquila Steel (S Africa) (Pty) Ltd for its proposed mining operation in the Thabazimbi Local Municipality
- Annexure 1: comments on the draft climate change impact assessment and palaeontological impact assessment reports
- The proposed Thabametsi Power Station’s climate change study and palaeontological impact assessment: summary report (June 2017) and annexures: comments and responses report, climate change impact assessment, climate resilience assessment report and water resource report.
- Letter to the Department of Environmental Affairs on behalf of Earthlife Africa Johannesburg (13 April 2017)
- Earthliffe Africa’s recommendations for the climate change impact assessment report for the Thabametsi power station (25 May 2016)
- Earthlife Africa’s comments on the scope of work report for the climate change and palaeontological impact assessments for the proposed Thabametsi power station (10 November 2016)
- A summary of the draft climate change and palentological impact assessment reports for the proposed Thabametsi power station (27 January 2017)
- Comments on the draft climate change impact assessment for the proposed Thabametsi power station (27 February 2017)
- CER letter to IPP Office regarding an update on the Thabametsi Power Company (Pty) Ltd and ACWA Power Khanyisa Power Station (FF) (Pty) Ltd Independent Power Producer Projects (6 April 2017)
- Thabametsi Power Company’s response to Earthlife Africa Johannesburg’s objection (9 February 2017)
- Letter by CER on behalf of Earthlife Africa Johannesburg letter to the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (15 December 2016)
- Thabametsi’s comments and responses report (August 2017)
The proposed Khanyisa Power Station
The proposed Colenso Power Station
Correspondence with the IPP Office
- CER letter to the IPP Office (17 August 2015)
- IPP Office letter to the CER (27 January 2016)
- CER letter to the IPP Office (18 October 2016)
- IPP Office letter to the CER (27 October 2017)
- CER letter to the IPP Office (6 April 2017)
- IPP Office’s letter to the CER (2 June 2017)
- CER letter to the IPP Office (15 September 2017)
- IPP Office’s response to the CER’s letter of 15 September 2017 (4 October 2017)
Highveld Priority Area (HPA) Multi-stakeholder Reference Group and Implementation Task Team
- Correspondence to the Nkangala Air Quality Officer regarding the management of ITT meetings in the HPA (29 October 2014)
- CER letter to eMalaheleni Local Municipality to determine whether HPA air quality has improved (15 June 2016)
- Response from eMalahleni Local Municipality (5 July 2016)
- CER letter to Nkangala District Municipality to determine whether HPA air quality has improved (15 June 2016)
Department of Environmental Affairs
Department of Health
In September 2016, the CER and groundWork addressed a letter to the Department of Health, urging it to attend Integrated Implementation Task Team (ITT) and Multi-Stakeholder Reference Group (MSRG) meetings relating to the Highveld Air Quality Priority Area
Multi-stakeholder Reference Group
Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs
- CER letter to the National Assembly’s Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs regarding the Department of Environmental Affairs’ briefing to the committee on the enforcement of minimum emission standards in the priority areas, the Highveld Report and recommendations on its recommendations; and air quality in priority areas and the status of air quality monitoring stations (12 June 2017)
South Africa’s international climate change obligations
South Africa’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution and negotiating position for COP21
- CER’s representation to the Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs (23 September 2015)
Integrated Resource Plan
Council for Scientific and Industrial Research’s Alternative Integrated Resource Plan
- National Legislation35
- International instruments4
- Provincial Legislation16
- Government Documents5
- Case watch5
- What's new?5
Request to GDARD for copies of permits for the keeping in captivity and breeding of lions at the Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve
October 10, 2017
Request to MTPA for copies of documents relating to bones of lions shot or euthanased after escape from national parks
August 16, 2017
Request to DEA for information relating to inspections of industrial facilities by the green scorpions
August 16, 2017