Centre for Environmental Rights joins fight for 'clean' energy in Cape Town

19 September 2019 - 13:57 By TimesLIVE
The City of Cape Town wants the courts to decide if municipalities can procure electricity without permission from the minister of mineral resources and energy.
The City of Cape Town wants the courts to decide if municipalities can procure electricity without permission from the minister of mineral resources and energy.
Image: 123RF/ 王 安琦

The Centre for Environmental Rights (CER) has been admitted as a friend of the court in a legal dispute over whether municipalities have the power to procure electricity without permission from the minister of mineral resources and energy.

 The City of Cape Town, wanting to procure its own renewable energy, brought the case against the National Energy Regulator and the minister of energy.

CER was admitted as a friend of the court (amicus curiae) in a ruling the by the high court in Pretoria on Thursday.

Its application seeks to bring to the attention of the court, the constitutional obligations of local government to protect the environment, including people’s health and well-being.

“Local government has a constitutional duty to provide clean and healthy electricity, which does not pollute our air, water, soil, or damage our climate. The City of Cape Town’s plans to procure clean renewable energy capacity would be aligned with these obligations”, said Nicole Loser, attorney at the CER.

In its application, the city said in November 2015 it had applied to the minister of energy for a determination that would allow it to purchase solar and wind power from an independent power producer, which would establish new generation capacity to supply the city, TimesLIVE reported in May.

“The minister has, however, to date failed to determine the city’s application,” the city’s director of enterprise and investment, Lance Greyling, said in an affidavit deposed to the court on July 2017.

 The main court application is likely to proceed in 2020.


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