Eskom could run coal-fired stations for years longer than originally planned to allow more renewable power to be built as South Africa transitions to a greener energy mix.
Coal is used to generate more than 80% of the electricity in South Africa, but the switch to cleaner sources of power to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 may involve the power utility continuing to burn the dirtiest fossil fuel.
Its Camden plant in Mpumalanga, one in a fleet of ageing stations, could close in 2027 instead of 2025, Mandy Rambharos, head of Eskom’s Just Energy Transition department, said in an online presentation. Keeping the plant open longer would allow the development of more renewables and is “not a life extension”, she said.
South Africa will need to build as much as 7GW of renewable capacity per year and reaching the net-zero goal by 2050 will cost an estimated R6-trillion, according to a report by the National Business Initiative, Business Unity South Africa and the Boston Consulting Group.
By 2030, around R480-billion of investment will be needed in the power sector alone, according to the report, which was presented on Thursday. While 30GW of connection to the grid is available for renewables, the same amount will need to be built in the next eight years to achieve the net-zero target. — (c) 2022 Bloomberg LP