Coal IRP RE

SA Energy Minister demystifies the coal vs. renewables debate

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South African minister of energy Jeff Radebe, has stressed that coal jobs in South Africa are at risk, however, not as the result of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement (REIPPP) programme.

Addressing members of the media on the weekend around the country's REIPPP programme, the Minister highlighted that "Eskom has as early as in the IRP 2010 reported that it will be decommissioning some of the older coal-fired power stations, which are reaching the end of their commercial and operational life. According to Eskom, by 2030, 13,000MW of coal-fired capacity is scheduled for decommissioning."

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"As South Africans, and as stipulated and agreed in the Green Economy Accord, we have to ensure a responsible just transition to a cleaner future by finding ways to mitigate and addressing the risks to coal miners and their families, as well as the communities surrounding these coal-fired power stations. 

"One of the outcomes of the Job Summit is the establishment of a presidential task team on climate change who will oversee the development and implementation of a just transition process for South Africa," Radebe noted.

He added: "As we have seen with the procured coal IPPs, commercial banks like Standard Bank and Nedbank are no more willing to support these coal-fired power projects. 

"This is an international phenomenon and the OECD Countries have also taken a hard line stance against the funding of coal projects, citing climate concerns."

The minister pointed out that the World Bank and other international development finance institutions, as well as commercial banks, have also instituted a no-coal policy. "China, India, the US and others have indicated that they are also downscaling their coal-fired fleets. This, however, does not mean we shall not procure cleaner coal-fired technologies in the future," he said.

"Coal is part of the energy mix and due to the abundance thereof, South Africa would be hard-pressed should we abandon coal-fired generation. Our policy will become clearer with the imminent finalisation of the IRP update," he stressed.

Read the Minister's full speech here.

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