JOHANNESBURG

The South African president said he is committed to expanding the country’s electricity generation by an additional 11,800 megawatts (MW) to drive economic growth and reduce carbon emissions.

Writing in his weekly newsletter to the nation, Cyril Ramaphosa said the country currently uses over 30,000 MW of electricity daily generated from coal-powered stations.

“Our fleet of coal-fired power stations is ageing, vulnerable to breakdowns and incurs significant maintenance costs,” he wrote.

South Africa has been experiencing rampant power cuts, known here as load shedding, due to breakdowns of aging power plants.

State-owned power utility, Eskom, supplies 95% of the country’s electricity needs. It generates its electricity from coal-fired plants.

Ramaphosa said the additional 11,800 MW will be procured from diverse sources, including solar, wind, gas, coal, and storage.

“While meeting our energy needs well into the future, this new capacity will also help us meet our international obligations to reduce carbon emissions,” he said.

Ramaphosa said South Africa is one of the most energy-intensive economies in the world.

“While our energy sources have become more diverse than before with the increasing inclusion of renewable energy sources, we remain heavily dependent on fossil fuels, mainly coal,” he said, adding the country is also a water-stressed nation, and coal power generation consumes vast quantities of water.

The South African leader said a reliable, secure and affordable energy supply is the lifeblood of any economy.

“To limit the impact of climate change, it is equally important that energy is sustainable and environmentally sound,” he noted.

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