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Greenpeace blasts plans for new coal power station

Sep 15 2018 08:45
Fin24

Greenpeace Africa has lambasted plans to invest in a new coal-fired power station, saying the project would render efforts to use cleaner energy "meaningless". 

A proposed 4 600 MW coal power station to be built in Limpopo, in partnership with a Chinese state-owned firm, emerged after President Cyril Ramaphosa's state visit to China earlier this month. 

"It is irrational that weeks after the release of the new draft of South Africa’s electricity plan (IRP 2018), it seems that South Africa has signed an agreement for a new mega coal-fired power station that is not reflected in the plan," said Happy Khambule, Greenpeace Africa’s political advisor.

The environmental group said such a move made "all promises for more rational decisions in the electricity sector seem [...] meaningless".

A statement released by the presidency outlined a number of Chinese projects in the Musina-Makhado special economic zone (SEZ), including "a 4 600 MW coal-fired plant, a cement plant and other metallurgical projects".

"There is no sane reason to invest in more coal, particularly since coal is already putting our contribution to address climate change at risk," said Khambule.

Khambule said the project would lead to more pollution, higher water consumption and higher electricity tariffs.

South Africa generates most of its electricity from coal, but government has in the past few years integrated cleaner power sources into the country’s energy mix, and this year signed 27 renewable energy contracts with independent power producers.

Energy Minister Jeff Radebe last month unveiled the new Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), which lays out future of energy investments for the country. The plan did not mention any new coal power stations.

South Africa is in the process of building two mega coal plants, Kusile and Medupi, and the projects have drawn criticism for their bulging costs.

As part of its commitment to reduce carbon emissions and mitigate the impact of climate change, South Africa in April 2016 signed the Paris Agreement on climate change, which requires countries to reduce greenhouse emissions.

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greenpeace africa  |  power generation
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