Tomorrow, November 5th, the United
States Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank is scheduled to consider greenhouse gas
impacts of the controversial Kusile coal-fired power plant proposal in the
built, Kusile would be one of the largest greenhouse gas-emitting power plants
in the world, which will also emit other forms of toxic pollution into the
local environment. Kusile would increase
Ex-Im Bank must respect the Integrated Resource Plan and Climate Strategy
processes. South Africans must be able to pursue our own energy development
path” said Sunita Dubey coordinator with groundWork in
The project, and the South African state energy utility, Eskom, are the focus of growing opposition from local communities who will bear the brunt of such a disastrous decision.
“Eskom and their large industrial customers hide behind the
rhetoric of solving energy poverty when it’s clear that it is the poor who will
pay the most
While Ex-Im Bank meets to discuss the carbon implications of the project, controversies surrounding the finances of Eskom continue to mount. With public anger over financial bailouts to failing industries and banks still fresh in the minds of many American voters, civil society organizations are also questioning the financial wisdom of Ex-Im Bank bailing out Eskom.
Eskom has thus far only secured 11 percent of the $19 billion price tag required to move the project forward. This comes despite billions in direct loans and loan guarantees from the South African government. With project delays and costs rising every year, a shadow of doubt has fallen over this troubled project, which has consequently been unable to attract adequate private financing to fill the enormous financial gap. Ex-Im Bank’s financing is sought to help prop up this fiasco.
“As if bailing out Wall Street wasn’t enough, the
In addition to the risks posed by Kusile, large capital
needs for another enormous and highly controversial coal power project in
“Eskom has over-reached on these enormous dirty coal-fired power projects. They simply can’t secure the capital needed from foreign investors who see the clear risks associated with these investments,” said Karen Orenstein with Friends of the Earth U.S.
Meanwhile, President Obama’s National Export Initiative, which seeks to double exports over five years, has created a perverse incentive for Ex-Im Bank to prioritize large-scale fossil fuel financing, at the expense of the nascent clean technology sector.
“The Ex-Im Bank must say no to this project. What the U.S. needs is dramatically ramped up investments in clean energy technology to help revitalize our economy and launch commerce into the 21st century, not bailouts for irresponsible utilities like Eskom,” said John Coequyt, Director of International Climate Programs at the Sierra Club.