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SA coal exports seen waning as renewables gather pace

Policy-makers need to prepare for the transition from coal to renewables – IEEFA.
With fewer countries using coal, South Africa will increasingly vie for customers with other exporters around the world. Image: Andy Shaw, Bloomberg

South Africa’s thermal-coal exports are expected to drop as its main export hub faces growing competition and new cheaper energies proliferate, according to a US research group.

Read: $11bn green-energy initiative takes shape in South Africa

“New energy technology is replacing coal-fired power faster than most predicted,” the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis said Monday as it released its export outlook. With fewer countries using the fuel, South Africa — which has the continent’s biggest coal-export hub — will increasingly vie for customers with other exporters around the world.

“The global seaborne coal trade is set to go into permanent decline,” said Simon Nicholas, an energy finance analyst for the group. “South Africa will see increased competition in markets around the world from other major thermal-coal exporters such as Indonesia, Australia and Russia.”

Exports of the fuel from the Richards Bay Coal Terminal, located on South Africa’s east coast, totaled 73.5 million tons in 2018, and are targeted at 77 million tons this year. While coal’s demise “won’t happen overnight,” the country’s policy-makers need to prepare for the transition, according to IEEFA.

“By 2030, new wind and solar will be cheaper than running existing coal- or gas-fired plants virtually everywhere in the world,” Nicholas said. “This is already the case in India, South Africa’s major coal-export destination.”

© 2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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Like I have said before, leftist policies won’t kill coal, economics will.

Its cheaper for India to build new PV generation than coal generation.
And like the article suggests in a few years, it will even be cheaper than existing coal infrastructure.

Sure, but what will supply the base load?

My current favorite is nuclear, nuclear is a amazing source of emission free power, but with that said, if storage costs come down enough we can just store our intermittent renewable energy when its available.

For storage I think currently the best/cheapest is thermal energy storage, at sub 10USD per kWh we can deal with the lower efficiency vs chemical storage.
I mean at 10USD per kWH you could theoretically build a 20 GWH hour battery.

Johannesburg household usage seems to be 16.4GWH per day, so a 20GWH battery would suffice and it would only cost around R3.5B (if you can get battery storage for 10USD per kWh)

Not at all expensive and very much doable.

End of comments.

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