Should Eskom step on the gas or wait for greener alternatives to ...

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Should Eskom step on the gas or wait for greener alternatives to coal?

To many analysts, the fuel looks to be SA’s easiest answer as it sets out to decommission ageing power stations

Paul Burkhardt

Power failures have become routine in SA. At the same time, the country wants to wean itself off coal that generates more than 80% of its electricity and makes it the world’s ­12th biggest source of greenhouse gases.

Most of SA’s power stations are near the end of their lives. An average of about 1,000 megawatts of capacity is set to be decommissioned annually over the next decade, which presents an ideal opportunity to begin overhauling the energy system. The question is how.

The government aims to cut emissions to net-zero by 2050. Its energy blueprint envisions the construction of scores of solar- and wind-powered plants. But there are widespread doubts that those projects can happen fast enough or be reliable enough to replace coal. So a controversial fossil fuel remains part of the planned energy mix: natural gas...

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