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Eskom gets emission cap reprieve

(File photo) Minister of Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa. Picture: Masi Losi

(File photo) Minister of Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa. Picture: Masi Losi

Published Feb 24, 2015

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Cape Town - Several companies, including Eskom, have been granted a reprieve from complying with minimum emission standards in terms of air quality laws, Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa announced on Tuesday.

Eskom and several other companies applied for temporary exemption from meeting deadlines to cut emissions in terms of the National Environmental Management Air Quality Act.

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"We received 37 applications from a range of facilities, namely Eskom, Sasol, Anglo American Platinum, PPC, and a number of refiners," Molewa said.

"Of these we have processed 35 applications and are still awaiting additional documentation from two applicants."

In terms of the new law, companies could apply for postponements for their plants to meet current air quality standards by April 1, 2015, and stricter standards for "new plants" by April 1, 2020.

Eskom applied for postponements for 16 of its power plants to meet standards in terms of three pollutants - particulate matter (PM), sulphur dioxide (SO2), and oxides of nitrogen (NOx).

"For PM all were declined for 2020, but in some of the plants - in three - we granted for 2015 only for PM," said national air quality officer Thuli Mdluli.

"For SO2 they were operating in compliance - all of them - for the 2015 standards so we granted for 2020 for sulphur dioxide."

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While some Eskom plants were operating in compliance with the 2020 standards for NOx emissions, other non-compliant plants were granted a reprieve between 2020 and 2025.

"Some of the stations are still in the process of putting in place low NOx burners so they were granted 1/8postponements 3/8 from 2015 to 2020," said Mdluli.

The postponements were granted to allow companies to procure technology and retrofit their plants to lower the emissions of the three pollutants.

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