Two weeks ago plans for the 557MW Thabametsi coal-fired power station, to be built outside Lephalale, Limpopo, were shelved for good. More private coal plant projects are likely to follow suit. Thabametsi would have been a climate and environmental disaster that would have cost our country R12.57bn more than a least-cost electricity system.

In 2015, the year SA ratified the Paris climate agreement, as many as 13 private coal power plants were being planned under the 1,000MW coal-baseload independent power producer procurement programme. The following year two coal power plants, Thabametsi and Khanyisa, were announced as preferred bidders under the first bid window of this programme...

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