The Just Energy Transition From Coal To Renewables Is Unworkable

During his remarks on President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation (SONA) address the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe, maintained his position on South Africa’s reliance on coal power generation.
Quoting economist Chris Hart, he cautioned that shutting down coal fired power stations “will mean costlier electricity, fewer jobs and a country with a quasi-third-world economy being relegated to the fourth-world division.”
“Our support for a just transition instead of a pendulum swing from coal to renewables is unworkable. The Just Energy Transition means we have a duty to travel through a journey from high carbon emissions to low carbon emissions,” he reiterated.
During his SONA Ramaphosa stated the need to install additional electricity generation capacity to close the current shortfall of about 4 000 MW of electricity is urgent.
Mantashe stated that by the end of March, his department will issue a request for proposals for 2 600 MW from renewable energy, Bid Window 6. In April, there will be a request for proposals for 513 MW from battery storage. Thereafter, additional bid windows, including bid window 7, will follow at six-month intervals.
“We are addressing the suspensive conditions from the Energy Regulator (NERSA) before we can issue a request for proposal for 2 500 MW of nuclear energy. Notably, there is no immediate solution to our energy shortage challenges. Energy projects have long lead times. We must be systematic in our approach and appreciate that it will be a little while before these initiatives impact the economy,” highlighted Mantashe.
“We remain committed to our global commitments towards net zero emissions to mitigate against global warming. Between now and 2030, the largest allocation for additional energy generation is towards cleaner energy sources.”
The Council for Geo-Science (CGS) is collaborating with the World Bank to experiment on the Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage (CCUS) research. Success in this regard will mean continued exploitation of South Africa’s coal resources for energy security, jobs, skills and technology development, and low carbon emissions.
South Africa has the world’s largest high-grade resources in, at least, six key commodities that play a critical role in the global hydrogen and energy storage sector. These are vanadium, platinum, palladium, nickel, manganese, rare earths, copper, and cobalt.
Support for the development of the local green hydrogen and battery storage sectors, working with Science and Technology, other departments, the private sector, and global partners, is key for the country.
Renewable energy production will make electricity cheaper and more dependable and will allow industries to remain globally competitive. Investments in electric vehicles and hydrogen will equip South Africa to meet the global clean energy future.
Ramaphosa also highlighted several new energy generation projects will be coming online over the next few years. This includes:
Over 500 MW from the remaining projects in Bid Window 4 of the renewable energy programme, which are at advanced stages of construction.
2 600 MW from Bid Window 5 of the renewable energy programme, for which the preferred bidders were announced last year,
up to 800 MW from those risk mitigation power projects that are ready to proceed,
2 600 MW from Bid Window 6 of the renewal energy programme, which will soon be opened,
3,000 MW of gas power and 500 MW of battery storage, for which requests for proposals will be released later this year.