SA could decomission coal-fired power quicker than currently planned

SOUTH Africa could decommission coal-fired power stations quicker than set down in the current government plan, and replace a portion of the deficit with self-generated power, said BusinessLive.

Citing the comments of Crispian Oliver, executive director of the presidential climate commission, BusinessLive said a change “in the licensing regime” for self-generated power could accelerate a decline in South Africa’s carbon emissions reduction.

Oliver’s comments come as South Africa prepares for the next United Nations climate change conference, COP26, which is due to kick off in the UK in November. Oliver said his commission met to discuss improving the scope of carbon reduction as set down in the nationally determined contribution (NDC).

This could result in the quicker decommissioning of coal-fired power stations than in the Resource Development Plan (IRP), the roadmap for how South Africa’s future power needs will be supplied. The IRP assumes the addition of 1,500MW of new coal-fired power and the gradual retirement of Eskom’s old coal power stations, with 10,500MW expected to be decommissioned by 2030, said BusinessLive.

The new target would require the “endogenous decommissioning” of coal, which would mean that once a plant’s level of efficiency fell below 40%, making it more expensive for Eskom to operate, it would be decommissioned, the publication said.

This assumption also takes into account that the new coal build is unlikely to materialise as financial institutions move rapidly away from financing fossil fuels due to shareholder pressure, it added.