Putting South Africa’s coal economy on a greener footing and transitioning to clean energy will require at least $250 billion over the next three decades, according to a report released May 26 at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
About half of the total investment, $125 billion, is needed to expand wind and solar energy projects, as coal-fired power plants, which currently provide the bulk of South Africa’s energy needs, are planned to be mothballed, Reuters reported.
The report was prepared by scientists at Stellenbosch University (South Africa) in conjunction with the Blended Finance Task Force, a body created in 2017 to help mobilize large-scale private capital in an effort to end poverty in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
South Africa is the 12th largest emitter of warming gases in the world. “It will take at least $250 billion spent over the next three decades to transition to a low-carbon, more equitable and clean energy system in South Africa under the decarbonization scenario (phasing out coal by 2040),” the authors stated.
In addition to building renewable energy and infrastructure projects, the funding is also for gas-fired power plants and increased energy flexibility, new transmission lines, and to ensure that thousands of coal miners whose jobs are at risk are transferred to other jobs.