Dlengezele said South Africa still needed coal as a source of energy, arguing that like the rest of Africa, the country still needed to take care of its developmental needs.
“In a perfect world, we would do away with all the coal projects for example. But the question can South Africa - with the coal reserves that it has, paired with the best coal technology - afford to shy away and say we no longer need (coal)? We need to have a transition that takes us to the least carbon emissions. But we must be given a chance to go through that journey,” she said.
The government’s preferred options to shape the country’s energy landscape will get clearer next month, when Energy Minister Jeff Radebe tables the long-awaited update of the integrated resource plan (IRP). The plan will reveal the proportional contributions of different technologies to the country’s energy mix.
The contestation for a share in the future energy mix has been intense, with environmental groupings going to great lengths to derail new nuclear and coal capacity. Earthlife South Africa and the South African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute last year scored a major victory when the Western Cape High Court set aside all nuclear deals with South Africa.