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South Africa to continue to depend on coal

  • 21 days ago (2024-03-27)
  • David Flin
Africa 302 Coal 273

Gwede Mantashe, South Africa’s Energy Minister, said it would be “very wrong” to expect a transition from its dependence on coal-fired power generation to renewable energy, and that the country will continue to rely on coal for the vast bulk of its power supply for much longer.

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His statement that coal will continue to play a dominant role in South Africa’s energy mix comes as Western nations are looking to invest in zero-carbon technologies. Mantashe said clean energy technologies that rely on intermittent factors like sunshine or wind are less reliable than coal plants. He said: “Moving to heavy dependence on renewables is a technical mistake. It will never work.”

Eskom Holdings , the state-owned electricity company, is struggling to meet demand for power because its coal-fired power plants are unreliable and keep breaking down as a result of age and poor maintenance. This results in long outages of up to 12 hours a day. Mantashe said that the government’s focus is on improving the energy availability factor at coal-fired plants.