SA’s first two privately owned coal-fired power stations, which were given the go-ahead by Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson on Monday, will produce electricity at prices well below what it is expected it will cost Eskom to produce electricity at its new mega-power stations, Medupi and Kusile.The announcement of the winning bidders for the first two coal independent power producers (IPPs) follows closely on an equally significant announcement a week ago, calling for the construction of two liquefied natural gas to power plants by IPPs at Richards Bay and Coega.Together, the news will restore market confidence that the IPP programme is back on track, after doubts were cast on it by Eskom, which said it was reluctant to sign new private sector off-take agreements.The preferred bidders selected for the coal IPP were Thabametsi — comprising Japanese firm Marubeni and a black economic empowerment consortium including Royal Bafokeng Holdings — and Khanyisa, comprising Saudi energy gi...

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