• South Africa to delay decommissioning of coal-fired plants in effort to battle power cuts

    Date posted:

    • Post Author

      Patrick Lavery

      Combustion Industry News Editor

With residential power cuts now lasting more than 10 hours per day for most households in South Africa, the ruling African National Congress has recommended that the decommissioning of ageing coal-fired power plants be delayed, as already suggested by the country’s climate policy body, Reuters reports.

Although on the surface delaying the decommissioning would be a significant backwards step in meeting its climate targets, Crispian Olver, executive director of the Presidential Climate Commission, has said that it would not fundamentally affect progress towards the targets, as progress is being made because of the power cuts and because of “anaemic economic growth”.

Such silver linings to a very dismal situation are unlikely to comfort most South Africans, although it has appeared to allow a tacit acceptance of the extended coal-fired power plant operation by the United States, Britain, France, Germany and the European Union, which have pledged to donate US$8.5 billion to South Africa’s energy transition. (South African President Cyril Ramaphosa last November estimated that the country needs to spend around US$84 billion over the next five years to implement its plan, as he called for larger grant funding from donors. In October last year, the funding requirement had been reported at US$46.5 billion.)

South Africa is the 14th largest greenhouse gas polluter in the world, according to the Reuters report.