South Africa; land of coal and CO2?

South Africa; land of coal and CO2?

Why we're still burning coal and why you should be concerned about it. Firstly, South Africa with it's 90% reliance on coal for electricity generation, is right up there with the main culprits contributing to the production of greenhouse gasses; on a per-capita basis that is.  Burning of fossil fuels is the main source of CO2 production and thus global warming. Clearly then, we have to apply our minds to alternative sources of energy. That's easier said than done because not only is such green energy largely inefficient and not practical on a large scale (yet) but it is also very expensive.  For example, coal-based electricity is generated at approximately 44c/unit (kWh). Wind power costs about R1,50/unit to produce. Eskom's new Medupi  Power Station will have an installed capacity of 4800 MW (megawatts). By way of comparison, Koeberg Nuclear Power Station generates 1800 MW and the Lesotho Highlands Hydropower Scheme delivers 1000 MW. A wind turbine like the one visible at Coega outside...
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Eskom swings back towards coal

Johannesburg - South Africa's next base load power station could be another coal-fired plant. This follows the decision to cancel construction of Nuclear-1, the nuclear station originally scheduled to be built by 2016. That's according to Eskom CEO Jacob Maroga, who gave a media presentation on Friday updating Eskom's power system and building programme. He was speaking a day ahead of the anniversary of Eskom's decision on January 24 2008 to declare force majeure on its major customers and shut down the SA mining industry because it could not supply power. Eskom is building two new coal-fired stations, Medupi and Kusile, each of which will be able to generate about 4 800 Megawatts of electricity. The next base load station was supposed to be Nuclear-1, for which Eskom was considering bids from consortiums led by Areva and Westinghouse. Eskom decided to scrap Nuclear-1 in December, citing the likely costs involved. The decision on the future of South Africa's nuclear programme now rests with government. Maroga said: "Our...
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Eskom faces demand whammy

Johannesburg - The projected slowdown in the growth of SA's energy demand will serve as a temporary breather to utility Eskom, easing chronic power shortages, an industry group said. But the slowdown, coupled with difficult financial markets, will also make it difficult for the utility to fully utilise that window of opportunity, said Brian Statham, chairperson of the SA National Energy Association (SANEA). "It's a vicious cycle for Eskom... and they will be in a very difficult balancing act trying to manage their way through it," Statham told Reuters in an interview. Eskom, which provides 95% of SA's power, has been rationing electricity since the national grid nearly collapsed last year, forcing mines to shut down for five days and costing Africa's biggest economy billions of dollars.  Statham expects demand growth to drop to around two percent from previous forecasts for an annual rise of four percent, owing to a slowdown in the growth of SA's economy, expected to expand three percent in...
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