Large-scale gas power has no role in South Africa: study

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South Africa’s plan to build large-scale gas-fired power stations as it moves away from coal has become obsolete, as renewable technologies become cheaper and pressure grows to cut back, according to a study by Meridian Economics. its carbon emissions.

An energy plan for Africa’s most industrialized nation released three years ago envisions up to 3,000 megawatts of electricity generated from natural gas – which is not produced locally in large quantities – by 2027 .

That figure could rise, with proposals under consideration to use the gas to add emergency supply to the network. The government is also looking for a partner to help it start a state-owned gas trader and has taken steps to set up import terminals for fuel.

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Generating electricity at scale from gas would cost 40% more and lead to seven times the emissions than securing peak power plants that burn fuel intermittently to supplement renewable energy generation, the analysts wrote. from Meridian in a report released on Monday. “There is no role for large-scale gas-fired power generation in the South African power system for the foreseeable future,” they said.

Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. generates about 80% of South Africa’s electricity from coal-fired power stations that have been poorly maintained and are nearing the end of their life. The electric utility’s inability to meet demand has resulted in power outages since 2008.

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Rich countries have pledged $8.5 billion in grants and cheap loans to help the country migrate to cleaner forms of energy. South Africa is the world’s 13th largest source of greenhouse gases.

The use of gas could potentially threaten the transition and expose exports to higher carbon-related taxes, according to Meridian. “Such a move would likely impact the appetite of developed countries to provide financial support to help South Africa in its just energy transition, putting concessional or conditional financing at risk,” he said.

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Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter said between 3,000 and 6,000 megawatts of gas-fired generation capacity would be needed to stabilize the grid. Gwede Mantashe, South Africa’s energy minister, expressed support for both increased use of gas and exploration to secure domestic fuel sources.

Nationwide power outages set to hit a record high this year could increase 10-fold by 2026 unless South Africa quickly rolls out massive renewable energy construction, Meridian said in a statement. another study published last week.


Read: Eskom sends load shedding warning to South Africa – high risk ‘for the next few weeks’

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