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  • Credit: © Greenpeace Africa / Mujahid Safodien


Assessing the impacts of new coal plants in South Africa by the Energy Research Centre

27 October 2021

by Bruno Merven, Jesse Burton, Patrick Lehmann-Grube

Energy System Research Group, University of Cape Town


  1. This report assesses the differences in total power system costs, greenhouse gas emissions, air pollutants and water use when the build plan is lowest cost (ie. excludes the coal capacity) and when the build plan includes the new coal capacity contained in the IRP 2019.
  2. The proponents of new coal plants typically use three arguments in support of new coal, namely that it is cheap; that it is important for jobs; and that power systems require coal plants for “baseload”. This report outlines the literature that refutes these claims, using examples and evidence globally and in South Africa.
  3. This report concludes that including new coal plants in South Africa’s electricity system comes at significant additional cost and also increases greenhouse gas emissions substantially.

Read the report: Merven et al. 2021. Assessing the impacts of new coal plants in South Africa 20210715