Research by the University of Cape Town’s Energy Research Centre warns against commissioning two independent power producer (IPP) coal plants as they will cost R20bn. The two coal power plants — Thabametsi, a 557MW plant, and Khanyisa a 307MW plant — fall under the first round of preferred bidders of the coal-baseload independent power producer procurement programme, which started in 2012. Construction of the two stations has not started, but projections are that they will be ready to go commercial by 2021. A report based on the centre’s research says that the two coal IPPs are no longer needed, given that SA has surplus electricity and demand for it is declining. In addition, the report states that in the long term the coal power plants are neither clean nor cheap compared with other sources of electricity such as wind and solar power. Centre researcher Jesse Burton, who authored the report, said coal plants were expensive and polluted the environment. Carbon emissions Although the...

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