Coal has contributed to the South African economy for more than a century and remains a dominant part of the energy mix. Mpumalanga is the centre of the South African coal industry, accounting for approximately 80 % of total coal production. Most of Eskom’s coal-ﬁred plants are also located in the province. Consequently, Mpumalanga’s regional economy is highly dependent on the exploitation of coal.
However, the transformation of the South African energy system is gathering momentum. The Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) 2019 anticipates that 10.7 GW of existing coal-ﬁred power stations will be decommissioned by 2030, with only Medupi and Kusile expected to remain operational by 2040. According to the DFFE, about 80 – 90% of greenhouse gas emission reductions in South Africa should come from the power sector, as it is both the largest emitter and the cheapest sector to mitigate in due to declining renewable energy prices.
Without deliberate and appropriate planning, the gradual phase-out of coal would be expected to lead to substantial economic and socio-economic losses. A regional and national plan is therefore needed to ensure that this process meets the principles of a Just Transition, which include social inclusion, decent work for all, and poverty reduction.
Editors: David Jacobs, Sebastian Helgenberger, Laura Nagel – IET and IASS
Technical implementation: Xolile Msimanga, Ruan Fourie (alumni), Brian Day, Dineo Maila, Mike Levington, Abram Marema, Boitumelo Tlokolo – Council for Scientiﬁc and Industrial Research (CSIR), Enertrag, Prime Africa, and Navitas Energy
Suggested citation: IASS/IET/CSIR. 2022. From coal to renewables in Mpumalanga: Employment effects, opportunities for local value creation, skills requirements, and gender-inclusiveness. Assessing the co-beneﬁts of decarbonising South Africa’s power sector. COBENEFITS Executive Report. Potsdam/Pretoria. www.cobeneﬁts.info
This Executive Report is accompanied by a Technical Report with more background information,
modelling assumptions, and other data – available soon