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Blaming coal cuts on renewables is ‘misdirected’ – ex-NPC member

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Blaming the first closure of some South African coal-fired electricity plants and subsequent job cuts on renewables is “misdirected” because generation with the fuel far outpaces clean-power supply, an early National Planning Commission member said.

State-owned utility Eskom, which burns coal for 90% of that electricity, has stalled on signing government-brokered deals to order renewables from independents, saying it’s expensive but not always available. Coal truckers in March blocked roads around the capital because of their vehicles, following your producer said hello won’t renew their contracts as a result of coal and power surplus. A union has additionally threatened to strike over green energy it blames for any planned closure of five Eskom coal facilities.

The surplus has stemmed from weak demand and slow increase in Africa’s most-industrialised economy, the business said. Eskom plans to close a few of its plants by the end of March 2020, which results in up to 20 000 job cuts, acting Founder Matshela Koko said on March 1. The country’s energy plan assumes particles closing the five facilities, which may have collective capability generate about 8 300 megawatts, is only going to come from 2020 and produce 2029.

Rather than blaming renewables, the National Union of Mineworkers “should be questioning Eskom’s decision to shut 8 gigawatts of plant prematurely — that’s a big slice of power,” Anton Eberhard, an ex-NPC member and professor within the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of economic, said by email.

Truckers are moving less coal because Eskom is producing less power computer system did in 2007 and furthermore, as many fuel has been transported by rail, he was quoted saying.

The NPC drew on the government’s blueprint for growing the economy, which recommends exploiting low-carbon energy.


“It’s hard to believe that independent power producers are presently having any serious affect on coal trucking or jobs and again, you have to question who may be behind these protests,” he explained.

Eberhard estimates that your plants Eskom intentions to close in advance of schedule produced in excess of 50 terawatt-hours in 2009. Green energy generated lower than 7 terawatt-hours during the same period, he was quoted saying, citing the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.

The company will study the outcomes of the proposed closures before any action is undertaken, Khulu Phasiwe said on March 31.

The producer stepped up criticism of renewables recently, saying the electricity it’s compelled to obtain via the programme is not cheap. Eskom is building about 9 600 megawatts of coal-fired capacity that’s over budget and years behind schedule.

Programme size
Up to date independent power producer projects “are turning out to be less costly than each of Eskom’s new power stations of course, if we block IPPs, you will find compromising electricity prices and economic growth,” Eberhard said.

The Department of Energy’s programme has drawn R194 billion of investment, as well as 200 megawatts are actually coupled to the national grid from 44 projects. Developers are waiting around for Eskom to sign offtake agreements on another 37 projects worth R58 billion that could generate 2 354 megawatts, using the government. Eskom said in March it’d sign the pacts after President Jacob Zuma ordered it to achieve this. Talks around the purchases are ongoing, Phasiwe said.

While Eskom’s Koko has spoken while using the mineworkers’ union for the planned closures, the labor organization hasn’t discussed the problem when using the IPPs,?NUM President Piet Matosa said. It’s as many as the ruling African National Congress to alter its policy with regards to the programme, he explained.

Two units of Komati are actually idled, and Eskom will start closing Hendrina from December next season, Phasiwe said. “The same principle will apply at other identified power stations.”?
? 2017 Bloomberg L.P

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