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.
analysis

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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