Welcome to the explain.co.za knowledge bank on the Just Energy Transition Investment Plan, here’s everything we know so far

What exactly is a JET-IP?

Sorry to break it to you, but this isn’t President Cyril Ramaphosa’s grand plan to fly over the country’s debt woes. The Just Energy Transition Investment Plan is the Ramaphosa administration’s response to the European Union pledge to help SA wean off coal that was made at last year’s UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP26).

JET-IP is the investment roadmap charting how SA will spend the pledged funds to transition away from its current primary source of electricity generation – coal.

What makes this transition Just?

The Just part of the energy transition refers to a sensitivity towards the coal industry workers who will be most affected by largescale decarbonisation and is a crucial condition of the partnership. It also builds on the UN secretary general, Antonio Guterres, call for rich countries to stop using coal by 2030 and poorer countries like South Africa are granted a more lenient timeline of 2040.

Who is giving SA money?

We say it’s the EU, but the US, UK, France and Germany will form the International Partners Group (IPG) alongside the EU to mobilise and initial $8.5 billion between 2023 and 2027. President Ramaphosa established the Presidential Climate Finance Task Team (PCFTT) in February 2022 to interface with the IPG on the terms and conditions of the agreement.

They (the PCFTT), in turn, advised an Inter-Ministerial Committee on these terms to ensure that JET-IP is aligned with the country’s ambitions and priorities. An independent JETP Secretariat was supported by the Climate Investment Funds to deliver technical capabilities to help develop the investment framework. 

Why so many committees?

It’s the Ramaphosa administration. Next question…

When did we produce the plan?

President Cyril Ramaphosa released the JET-IP late last week – just in time for the COP27 on Sunday in Egypt. The plan politely states the Integrated Resource Plan, which is the official policy for SA’s energy mix and is the subject of court challenges by environmental lobby groups, should be reviewed to meet the country’s climate goals.

The plan also details how much South Africa needs to finance the switch to low-carbon technologies in major sectors of the economy so it can meet emissions targets outlined in the Paris Agreement.

How much money do we need?

According to the plan’s modelling assumptions, the country needs around R1.5 trillion (or $99 billion), just under the $100 billion the developed world has pledged to mobilise for all developing countries affected by climate change at previous conferences. Thus far, SA has only secured $8.5 billion – which is the funding pledge from the IPG.

So what have we done in the past year?

Eskom is proceeding with the decarbonisation of its power stations despite the policy incoherence at the top, helped along by funding the utility negotiated, by itself, from the World Bank.

Spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha said its just energy transition plans have begun at the Komati power station in Mpumalanga with the highly publicised launch of a renewable energy training facility in partnership with the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. The plant is also being repurposed to produce 150MW from solar, 70MW from wind, and 150MW from battery storage.

[Last updated: 10/11/2022]