JOHANNESBURG – President Cyril Ramaphosa yesterday backed the transition of South Africa from fossil-based to clean energy as envisaged in the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) 2019, charging that the government would develop a framework to take ageing coal-fired plants out of service and reposition Eskom as an efficient energy generator.
Ramaphosa said in his weekly newsletter that although the government was mindful of the consequences of closing the plants on communities that depended on their existence, it wanted to attract investment in cutting-edge coal technologies to reduce the impact of coal-fired power generation.
He said the government needed to implement a just transition to ensure that communities and workers were not left behind. “That is why we will be developing a clear framework for the process of decommissioning coal-fired power stations that have reached the end of their operational cycle,” he said.
Last week, Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe launched the IRP 2019, which advocated the decommissioning of coal-powered plants, paving the way for the phasing in of nuclear energy at a pace, scale and cost the country could afford.
Eskom has flagged the price of coal and diesel as key to its burgeoning input costs over the past few years.