The coal industry represents 19% of total employment in mining in South Africa. The Minerals Council of South Africa says net investment in the coal industry declined by 15% between 2010 and 2018, despite coal being the major source of electricity in the country.
Moreover, 70% of coal volume is consumed domestically and the coal industry spends billions on procuring goods and services locally, thus contributing to creating and maintaining jobs in other industries.
But, financing to mitigate or adapt to looming climate issues is receiving more and more attention across Africa. For the moment, in South Africa, this still lags behind traditional thermal generation and commonplace operational considerations. While an increasing number of governments are starting to consider a more sustainable energy transition as central to future climate strategies, this philosophy raises queries around finding the balance between embracing clean energy and exploiting least cost resources.
In this webinar, we explored the question of coal in the energy sector. Our guests unpack the concern around the role of traditional generation in the energy transition where Africa’s more immediate problem is that of modernisation and expansion.
Key discussion points included:
- Is the concept of clean coal technologies possible or an oxymoron?
- Is a move to exploiting more gas resources a step in the right direction?
- Do the global pandemic and associated drop in oil revenue represent a chance to refocus direct private investment away from coal; and
- Where do human resources fit into the energy transition?
- Gaylor Montmasson-Clair, Senior Economist, Trade & Industrial Policy Strategies (TIPS), South Africa
- Dr Tony Surridge, Technical Advisor, Geoscience Council, South Africa
- Ted Blom, Energy & Mining Analyst, South Africa
Nicolette Pombo-van Zyl, Editor | ESI Africa