Unnamed South Africa coal projects

From Global Energy Monitor
This article is part of the CoalSwarm coverage of South Africa
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Unnamed South Africa coal projects refers to unnamed proposed coal-fired capacity laid out in the country's Integrated Resource Plans (IRP).


In 2011 the South Africa Department of Energy (DOE) released an Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) for the 2010-2030 time period.[1]

The plan described a "Revised Balance Scenario" (RBS) for coal that included 4332 MW at Medupi power station, 4338 MW at Kusile power station, and 6250 MW of unnamed "new build options" during the 2010-2030 period.

The 6250 MW of new, unnamed capacity was planned to be implemented as follows:[1]

  • 2014: 500 MW
  • 2015: 500 MW
  • 2019-2025: 250 MW each year
  • 2026: 1000 MW
  • 2027: 250 MW
  • 2028: 1000 MW
  • 2029: 250 MW
  • 2030: 1000 MW

The 500 MW of new coal capacity in 2014 and again in 2015 would be fluidized bed combustion (FBC) plants built, owned, and operated by independent power providers (IPPs). The 250 MW of new capacity in 2019 and 2020 were also conceived as FBC plants, but the plan did not specify who would build these plants.[1]

The 2013 draft update of the plan envisioned 2,450 MW of new coal power by 2030, due to a downgrading of national energy demand and increase in proposed natural gas use. It stated that 1,000 - 1,500 MW of fluidized bed combustion capacity from discarded coal would be a preferable implementation of the proposed Coal-3 power station. The draft update was issued for public comment and anticipated to be submitted to the cabinet by March 2014,[2][3] but never was. Therefore IRP 2010 remains the official document and the draft update has no status.[4]

In December 2014 the government announced that it would launch a private sector-led, independent power producer (IPP) coal plant program by January 2015, which would add 2,500 megawatts of generation capacity to the grid.[5]

South Africa's 2018 draft Integrated Resource Plan for Electricity (IRP), released in August 2018, contains plans for an additional 1000 MW of new coal-fired power on top of the Medupi and Kusile coal plants, which are under construction. The new plants are the Khanyisa power station and Thabametsi power station, chosen as part of the IPP coal baseload program.[6] All other plans appear to be cancelled.

The government's 2019 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP2019), released in October 2019, includes plans for 1,500 MW of coal-based electricity: 750 MW in 2023 and another 750 MW in 2027.[7] However, that 1,500 MW appears to be in addition to or instead of the 900 MW from the planned Khanyisa power station and Thabametsi power station, which were at risk or "not materialising due to financing and legal challenges".[8]

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