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South Africa: transition from coal dependence to gas-fired power generation

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South Africa: transition from coal dependence to gas-fired power generation

If you are well endowed as a country with a resource, there is an opportunity to develop clean technologies compared to coal.

CAPE TOWN, South Africa, November 10, 2021 / APO Group / –

With Africa’s energy transition including a global discussion point during Africa Energy Week (AEW) 2021 in Cape Town, the session of the Platform on Transition from Coal Dependence to Power Generation in Cape Town gas in South Africa has offered African stakeholders the opportunity to establish their own strategies to drive the transition.

The spotlight on South Africa’s energy mix on Wednesday provided a consolidated view of the challenges and opportunities of the country’s energy transition. Panelists included representatives from South Africa’s major energy organizations, including the Ministry of Mineral Resources and Energy; Africa Director Risk advisory service Eurasia Group; THIS F ; Sasol; PetroSA; TotalEnergies – South Africa; the Strategic Fuel Fund; CGS; Nersa; and GE Gas Power. With a mandate to promote the role of natural gas in South Africa’s energy mix, recognizing the benefits that the resource brings to power generation, the roundtable offered an African perspective on coal, gas nature and the continent’s energy transition.

“Gas is expected to play a pretty big role in a just energy transition in South Africa,” said Akash Latchman, senior vice president of gas supply and operations for Sasol, adding that “unlocking the potential of gas is essential for reducing energy poverty in South Africa. “

“Whenever there is a discussion around the just energy transition, various technologies are taken into account in its permutations, clean coal technologies being significantly excluded”, noted Dr Tshepo Mokoka, COO of the group for the CEF , who acknowledged that, “If you are well endowed as a country with resources, there is an opportunity to develop clean technologies over coal. What needs to be considered are the socio-economic implications of this conversion. .

Africa faces a two-pronged challenge, the first being the continent’s severe energy crisis – in which more than 600 million people currently lack access to electricity and over 900 million do not have access to electricity. access to a clean kitchen – and the second, the global climate crisis. As Western countries opt for an immediate end to the use of fossil fuels, oil and gas are essential for Africa if the continent is to fight energy poverty. During the South African roundtable, participants stressed that natural gas has become the ideal solution to both of these challenges. Representing the ideal transitional resource, as well as a readily available resource, gas can be the solution the country and the continent need to accelerate their energy transition and meet domestic demand.

Adewale Feyemi, Managing Director of TotalEnergies South Africa, noted that “in South Africa there is a need for energy, and what role will gas play? Noting its decarbonisation potential, he added that “gas is going to be part of the transition. Being a good ally for renewable energies, we are committed to ensuring that these resources are brought to land as soon as possible, and we must work closely and collaborate with the [relevant] authorities.”

“Once we have gas in the country, gas to electricity projects, we can turn on other industries to start using gas,” added Dennis Seemala, CEO of Electricity Licensing. , compliance and dispute resolution for Nersa.

As South Africa grapples with ongoing electricity issues, the use of natural gas as a source of power generation offers new benefits for both the country and the region at large. The significant resources available in southern African countries – the most notable being Mozambique with over 180 trillion cubic feet of reserves in the Rovuma basin alone – have created new opportunities for power generation in the region. .

Already, there is cross-border infrastructure through which South Africa can use Mozambique’s resources, which, coupled with recent discoveries made in 2019 off South Africa, position the country as a natural gas powerhouse. As the continent moves towards a green economy, natural gas is arguably the best resource for tackling energy poverty while mitigating climate change. Resources in key areas such as Senegal, Mozambique, Nigeria, Tanzania and many others, offer the continent a crucial opportunity to accelerate socio-economic growth and the expansion of clean energy. With the recent implementation of the Free Trade Agreement on the African continent in January 2021, opportunities for improving cross-border trade have opened up trade, liberalized markets and encouraged continental use of natural gas.

“Gas has a bigger role to play,” noted Vuyelwa Mahanyele, regional sales manager for GE Gas and Power, stating that: “In terms of the role gas will play during the transition, it is important that we bring everyone with him. the value chain. There is a whole downstream value chain where enrichment is expected around this chain. As we move to a low carbon economy, gas is going to play an incredible role in partnership with renewables. “

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