Coal is king, insists Mantashe

As world leaders fete President Cyril Ramaphosa for his inexperienced agenda in Egypt, his minister of mineral sources and power insisted this week that coal will proceed to play a important half in electrical energy technology in South Africa. Gwede Mantashe believes coal, together with gasoline, nuclear and hydropower needs to be the principle baseload. 

Ramaphosa submitted South Africa’s R1.5 trillion funding plan to make use of much less coal to a bunch of wealthy international locations this week – to a rapturous response from the UK, US, Germany, France and the EU on the COP27 local weather talks in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.

The Simply Power Transition Funding Plan (JETP) particulars a method to decommission coal-fired energy stations and launch new renewable power technology capability. South Africa is without doubt one of the world’s largest greenhouse gasoline emitters and 86% of its electrical energy is generated by coal.

France’s President Emmanuel Macron described the plan as a “benchmark”, whereas European Fee President, Ursula von der Leyen, stated that the partnership was a “first-of-its-kind international initiative” for “accelerating” a simply power transition in different international locations.

US Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen described the JETP as “groundbreaking” and stated it “creates a brand new mannequin” for tackling the local weather disaster.

However on Thursday, throughout a parliamentary debate on the simply power transition, Mantashe stated any suggestion that coal had “reached its sell-by date is a delusion,” citing a 700% enhance in South Africa’s coal exports since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

With out giving particulars on their findings, he stated numerous research give “us hope and perception that coal will proceed to play a important half in our simply power transition”.

He stated the consensus in South Africa was that the nation ought to transfer from high- to low-carbon emissions, quite than abandoning fossil fuels.

“We ought to ensure baseload power provide by way of a mixture of gasoline, nuclear, coal, and hydro. A pendulum swing from coal-powered power technology to renewable power doesn’t assure baseload stability. It should sink the nation right into a baseload disaster.”

Baseload is the minimal quantity of electrical energy wanted to be equipped to {the electrical} grid at any given time.

This week, Mantashe’s division and Eskom signed agreements that would set up three new wind tasks within the Western and Japanese Cape as a part of Bid Window 5 of South Africa’s Renewable Impartial Energy Producer Programme (REIPPP). The developer, Mauritius-headquartered Pink Rocket South Africa, says the tasks will add 364MW to the Eskom grid by the top of 2024.

Mantashe stated additional agreements can be signed with 13 most popular bidders underneath this window earlier than the top of this month.

However he added that the REIPPP was not a substitute of Eskom.

“It have to be clear to all, that Eskom will not be on the market because it stays the nation’s baseload power generator.”

He additionally identified that Africa was the bottom polluter of the setting, but it was the most-affected continent by local weather change. “Due to this fact, it’s incumbent on the developed nations which traditionally benefitted from industrial financial actions that polluted the world leading to local weather change to finance our transition appropriately and adequately.”

He stated the folks of South Africa have to be cushioned from the “dire penalties” related to the simply power transition, together with job losses in carbon-intensive industries.

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