South Africa needs R178bn to help transition from coal, study says

South Africa needs a climate finance transaction of $11 billion (R178 billion) to help the country transition from coal to renewable energy and to soften the blow for communities dependent on the mining and use of the fossil fuel, a University of Cape Town study said.

South Africa, through state utility Eskom Holdings, is almost entirely dependent on coal for electricity. The country produces the same quantity of greenhouse gases as the UK, which has an economy eight times larger.

“The study envisions a climate finance transaction of $11 billion – the largest and most significant of its kind – that will channel funds towards the accelerated phase-out of coal-fired power, keeping Eskom solvent as it decarbonises,” the university said in a press release on Tuesday about the research. The funds would also support “the communities and workers affected by the shift away from coal.”

South Africa’s eastern Mpumalanga province is heavily dependent on coal mining and coal-fired power plants for employment.

South Africa would only need to use 0.0025% of its landmass to generate enough solar power to meet its energy needs, the study said. The country has suffered intermittent power cuts due to inadequate generation capacity since 2008.

© 2020 Bloomberg

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