South Africa Finally Turning From Coal

The population of the Republic of South Africa is approximately 59.67 million people[1]. In 2018, 91.2% of the people in this country located in southern Africa had  access to electricity[2].

In 2016, South Africa signed the Paris Climate Agreement[3], committed to a peak, plateau, and decline greenhouse gas emission program. The country’s plan is for emissions to peak between 2020 to 2025, plateau for approximately ten years and then begin to rapidly decline.

In 2019, South Africa’s economy was ranked 37th in the world in gross domestic product (GDP)[4]. The country’s economy is dependent on the export of platinum, gold, chromium, automobiles, technology, textiles, steel, and chemicals.

In 2019, South Africa’s state-owned electric company Eskom used coal (84.8%), renewable energy (14.2%), and nuclear power (1.0%) to generate electricity in the country[5]. Hydropow4er, wind, and solar are the primary sources of renewable energy in South Africa.

In 2020, the South African government announced plans to add 6,800 MW of wind and solar projects. Recent renewable energy projects in the country include the following:

  • 33 MW Wind Project – In September 2020, African renewable energy company, BioTherm commissioned the Excelsior Wind Farm, located approximately 125 miles east of South Africa’s capital, Cape Town.
  • 46 MW Solar Project – In October 2020, South African renewable energy company, BioTherm commissioned the Aggeneys Solar Plant, located approximately 300 miles north of Cape Town.
  • 68 MW Solar Project – In September 2020, a consortium formed by the American investment firm, Ideas Fund, commissioned the Bokamoso Solar Plant, located approximately 650 miles northeast of Cape Town.
  • 86 MW Solar Project – In October 2020, South African renewable energy company, BioTherm commissioned the Konkoonsies II Solar Project, located approximately 335 miles northeast of Cape Town.
  • 110 MW Wind Project – In October 2020, American renewable energy company, Mainstream Renewable Power commissioned the Perdekraal East Wind Farm, located 50 miles northeast of Cape Town.
  • 120 MW Wind Project – In December 2020, African renewable energy company, BioTherm commissioned the Golden Valley Wind Farm, located approximately 130 miles east of Cape Town.
  • 140 MW Wind Project – In October 2020, Italian utility, Enel commissioned the Nxuba wind farm, located approximately 450 miles east of Cape Town.
  • 140 MW Wind Project – In November 2020, Dutch renewable energy company, Lekela Power commissioned the Kangnas Wind Farm, located approximately 275 miles north of Cape Town.

South Africa has used inexpensive, domestic coal to fuel its power plants for decades. As a result, the country’s largest cities suffer from toxic air pollution.

South Africa has vast renewable energy resources, which could power all of the country’s current and future power requirements. South Africa has finally begun to kick the coal habit and turn to clean, green, low cost renewable energy.

Jack Kerfoot

Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”

www.jackkerfoot.com

 

[1] South Africa Population (2020) –  December 27, 2020 www.worldometers.info

[2] South Africa – The World Bank Group

[3] Carbon Brief “Paris 2015: Tracking Country Climate Pledges”

[4] Gross Domestic Product 2019 – World Bank DataBank

[5] US Aid – South Africa Energy Fact Sheet

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