South Africa: The (Empty) Promises of 'Clean Coal' Power Generation Technologies for South Africa

Activists at COP27 protesting against the continued use and development of fossil fuels.

The promises of new coal-fired power generation capacity in South Africa (post-Medupi and Kusile), and in particular, the promise of 'clean coal' technologies, has long been in the country's planning pipeline but has perhaps been short of a reality check as to the actual potential for delivery.

Chris Yelland, managing director, EE Business Intelligence.

In terms of South Africa's previous Integrated Resource Plan for Electricity, IRP 2010-2030, a further 6250 MW of new coal-fired power plant was planned for construction by 2030, in addition to Eskom's 4,800 MW Medupi and Kusile coal-fired power stations that were still under construction at the time.

In 2014, as part of this plan, the IPP Office of the then Department of Energy commenced a procurement process for 2,500 MW of coal-fired electricity from independent power producers (IPPs) in the first rounds of the so-called Coal Baseload IPP Procurement Programme.

Two preferred consortiums were finally announced in 2016 as the outcome of the first bid window - one being the Thabametsi project in the coal-rich Waterberg area of Limpopo province, and the other the Khanyisa project near eMalahleni in Mpumalanga province.

The Thabametsi coal-fired power station was to be sited outside the town of Lephalale,...

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