Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe has announced that the country will continue to pursue an energy mix while balancing the country’s commitments to low carbon emissions.
The minister made the announcement at a gathering held by the South African Youth Economic Council in Johannesburg on Thursday evening.
The decision was made from the country’s need to secure energy supply and to expand the economy.
Despite South Africa’s large dependence on coal, the department has assured that they are working to procure energy from renewable sources.
“Our country relies on about 75% of coal for electricity generation. We cannot, overnight, shut down coal generation,” Mantashe said.
Plans are also underway to extend the lifespan of the Koeberg nuclear power station by 20 years.
Nuclear is an important aspect of net zero carbon emissions, according to international energy associations.
“As approved by our Cabinet too, we will proceed to implement 2500MW of nuclear, at a scale and pace affordable to South Africa,” the minister said.
The department has reiterated that poorer countries will not be able to meet their carbon emission targets if more developed nations do not follow through on their commitment to assist them in their energy transitions.
“We must insist that industrialised countries, as big polluters, must take greater responsibility.
“This includes meeting the commitments they repeatedly make to the poor who bear the brunt of their, often irresponsible, actions.
“Technology transfer and genuine finance cannot be postponed further if we are to meet the net zero targets.”