New report: Comments on potential impacts of proposed new coal generation under the South African 2019 Integrated Resource Plan
02 September 2021
A new report by Ranajit (Ron) Sahu, Ph.D, QEP, CEM
The 2019 Integrated Resource Plan for Electricity (IRP) proposes to add 1500 MW of new coal generation in two phases – 750 MW in 2023 and an additional 750 MW in 2027. In September 2020, the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy reaffirmed this objective by issuing a determination for 150 0MW of coal to be generated, size unspecified. The 2019 IRP and Ministerial determination have very little additional detail regarding the specifics of this new coal generation including: the generation capacity and number of units per phase; locations; source of the coal; and the manner of disposal of coal combustion residuals. The 2019 IRP is also unclear as to the type of generation technology that may be used, other than to note that it will be some form of high-efficiency, low emission (HELE) technology, which comprises a potentially large number of technologies with a wide range of potential impacts. The IRP also contemplates including carbon capture for this new coal generation.
This report assesses the most likely feasible timelines, HELE technologies and potential air emissions of such new coal generation. I note that environmental impacts from coal plants is not just limited to air emissions but includes significant water and waste impacts as well.