Up for a vote April 8, the World Bank’s plan to lend USD3 billion for a new South African coal plant remains a thorny issue, with stakeholders taking opposing sides of what has largely become a green debate.
World Bank President Robert Zoellick has been lobbying for the loan set to fund the 4,800-megawatt Merupi coal plant, a project that has drawn criticism from advocates of clean energy and groups urging the bank to thin out lending for energy projects that use fossil fuel.
South Africa’s Congress is all for the project; it’s trade union umbrella disagrees.
The Washington Post reports that the South Africa loan “could alter” the World Bank’s energy lending portfolio, which has been growing in favor of clean energy projects in the last decade. Of the bank’s total US 8.2 billion energy lending last year, some 40 percent went to renewable energy and energy efficiency projects, while fossil fuel projects got 24 percent of the amount.