Coal has contributed to the South African economy for more than a century and remains a dominant part of the energy mix. Mpumalanga is the centre of the South African coal industry, accounting for approximately 80 % of total coal production. Most of Eskom’s coal-ﬁred plants are also located in the province. Consequently, Mpumalanga’s regional economy is highly dependent on the exploitation of coal.
However, the transformation of the South African energy system is gathering momentum. The Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) 2019 anticipates that 10.7 GW of existing coal-ﬁred power stations will be decommissioned by 2030, with only Medupi and Kusile expected to remain operational by 2040. According to the DFFE, about 80 – 90% of greenhouse gas emission reductions in South Africa should come from the power sector, as it is both the largest emitter and the cheapest sector to mitigate in due to declining renewable energy prices.
Without deliberate and appropriate planning, the gradual phase-out of coal would be expected to lead to substantial economic and socio-economic losses. A regional and national plan is therefore needed to ensure that this process meets the principles of a Just Transition, which include social inclusion, decent work for all, and poverty reduction.
- Read more here: Invigorating South Africa’s Deal to Phase Out Coal-Fired Power