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Are the South African coalfields converting to Renewable energy?

Countries are slowly shifting to renewable energy and abandoning fossil – generated electricity. On the same note, South Africa appears to be the world’s biggest carbon emitter. Countries view it as opposing the fight to minimize global warming and greenhouse gas emissions. 

The emissions in South Africa are primarily a product of coal harvesting. The country has a total of 15 coal production plants, and therefore the emissions are incredibly high. The worst scenario is Mpumalanga, where there’s a total of 12 coal plants. This area is exceptionally hazardous for residence since the plants release various life-quenching gases like sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide. 

The country is known for its significant coal reserves. The major problem is they don’t have the best mining technology. Therefore, the extraction process is life-threatening for both the surrounding residents and the miners. The electricity plants are dependent on these coal plants. Consequently, this region is considered the electricity hub for South Africa. 

The nation is exploring alternative energy sources to minimize emissions. In their electricity plan, South Africa is proposing solar and wind farms to generate approximately 20000 MW of power. The country has plans to shut down old coal plants in Mpumalanga immediately after setting up renewables. Eskom, the government power utility, is organizing the replacement of coal energy with renewable energy by installing the new aside from the coal plant. However, the government is still determining a proper strategy to phase out this old technology without compromising the jobs of the workers. 

The government is aware that coal plants offer numerous jobs for the population. Therefore, immediate shutdown is impossible since the plants also contribute about 20% of the country’s GDP. Trade unions are strongly opposing shutdown bearing in mind that the majority of the workers are their union members. 

South Africa’s electricity plan details the importance of transitioning from coal to a climate-friendly economy. The project records the crucial navigation of the coal workers to the renewable energy sector. For this reason, they hope the 20000 MW renewable plant will absorb them. 

There is a significant reduction in the cost of renewable energy to ensure the feasibility of renewable energy projects. This province is the best site for such establishments.

It is also necessary to set up such projects in areas that favor these weather features: wind and solar. Spreading out such facilities opens up employment opportunities for the residents. Additionally, the spread ensures constant power supply even in areas with unfavorable weather patterns. 

The coronavirus pandemic is a substantial economic challenge for the nation. Many are resorting to short-term projects to overcome unemployment and utilize the labor for the growth of small proprietorships. 

The installation of renewable energy infrastructure is a lucrative opportunity for the growth of the proprietorships. More importantly, if these renewables are private, they can be a source of investment funds. 

Finally, the shift to renewable energy farms is going to solve most of South Africa’s problems. First, they will join other countries in the fight against emissions and global warming. Then it can employ a vast percentage of its population. 

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