An assessment of new coal plants in South Africa’s electricity future: the cost, emissions, and supply security implications of the coal IPP programme

The University of Cape Town’s Energy Research Centre has published a report entitled “An assessment of new coal plants in South Africa’s electricity future: the cost, emissions, and supply security implications of the coal IPP programme”. Authors Ireland and Burton find that the two proposed coal-fired power stations which are the preferred bidders in the Department of Energy’s coal baseload independent power producer procurement programme – Thabametsi and Khanyisa – are not necessary to meet demand, and that their inclusion in South Africa’s electricity system will substantially raise costs in the electricity sector, and substantially increase greenhouse gas emissions over their lifetimes. The report concludes: “The implications of these findings are clear. South Africa is currently facing a large surplus in generation capacity, in particular inflexible base supply capacity. Eskom is facing a financial crisis and rising electricity prices will drive consumers away from the utility. Investments that unnecessarily increase costs in the electricity sector should be avoided.”

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