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Where to for coal electricity in South Africa?

In the medium term the trajectory for steam coal usage in South Africa is upward with the giant Medupi and Kusile power stations due to add 9.7 GW of capacity, but the longer term outlook for coal in this country is a diminishing one.

South Africa, one of the world’s most coal dependent countries, has embarked on a gung-ho green energy path but planners have not ignored the realities of a resource it has in abundance. Coal 3, the current description of the next major coal fired power station after Kusile, has received cabinet approval.

Initially the minister of public enterprises Malusi Gigaba and Eskom CEO Brian Dames suggested that Eskom will build this power station, but the country’s Department of Energy (DoE) subsequently said it has not yet been decided. The country’s existing integrated resource plan (IRP 2010) does provide for 6.25 GW of new coal capacity up until 2030. If the scale of this new power facility is to be similar to that of Medupi, it will fit into the current IRP without breaking its boundaries.

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