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It’s no gas: SA could lose billions if it pushes ahead with gas ...

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It’s no gas: SA could lose billions if it pushes ahead with gas plans

Rich nations have pledged to help us transition from coal, but plans for gas-power plants may stymie their resolve

Paul Burkhardt

SA’s plan to build large-scale gas-fired power plants as it transitions from coal has become outdated with renewable technologies becoming cheaper and pressure mounting to curb its carbon emissions, a Meridian Economics study has found. 

An energy blueprint for SA released three years ago envisions as much as 3,000 megawatts of electricity being generated from natural gas, which isn’t produced domestically in big quantities, by 2027. That figure could rise, with proposals under consideration to use gas to add emergency supply to the grid. The government is also looking for a partner to help it start a state-owned gas trader and has taken steps towards setting up import terminals for the fuel.   

Power generated from gas on a large scale would cost 40% more and result in seven times more emissions than securing it from peaking plants that burn the fuel intermittently to complement renewable energy output, Meridian’s analysts wrote in a report published 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. ..

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