Monday, March 22, 2010

South Africa, Coal and Future Electricity Delivery

It appears that coal will be king in South Africa for the foreseeable future due to its abundance and convenience. The South African economy is strong and new demand for electricity is accompanying that growth. South Africa also needs to create jobs for the one fourth of the population that is unemployed. So in order too sustain the growth rates and to create jobs , South Africa's energy utility, Eskom, has submitted a $3.75 billion application for funding to the World Bank, the African Development Bank and the European Investment Bank. However, opponents are objecting to funding coal-burning power projects with carbon dioxide emissions that contribute to climate change.

Approximately $3 billion of the loan would go towards the construction of a 4,800-megawatt coal-fired power station at Medupi in South Africa's Limpopo province. The rest of the loan, $745 million, will be invested in wind and concentrated solar power projects, each generating 100 megawatts, and in various efficiency improvements. There is a general conclusion in South Africa that they do not have time or cannot afford to develop wind, solar, hydropower, and nuclear projects even though they leave no carbon footprint. (Wash Post, 3/22/10)

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