ARKANSAS, Nov 05 (Future Headlines)- South Africa is expediting plans to add 3 gigawatts (GW) of gas-fired power generation to address the country’s ongoing energy deficit, which is negatively impacting its economy. The nation has been grappling with frequent power cuts due to breakdowns at the aging coal-fired plants operated by state power utility Eskom. Officials estimate that up to 6 GW of new generating capacity is needed to alleviate rolling blackouts and stabilize the electricity supply.

To bolster energy generation, the South African government is pursuing various initiatives, including a 2 GW mobile power facility and a 1 GW gas-fired plant located near Coega in the Eastern Cape. According to Kgosientsho Ramakgopa, the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, the government has reached the procurement stage for these projects.

Gas-fired power generation is a key focus of South Africa’s strategy, primarily because gas power plants are less carbon-intensive compared to coal. The country is committed to transitioning towards more sustainable and eco-friendly energy sources to reduce emissions.

Initially, the government had planned for a 3 GW gas-fired power plant in Richards Bay on the east coast. However, this proposal faced opposition from environmental groups advocating for an accelerated adoption of renewable energy projects in line with the global shift away from polluting fossil fuels.

Minister Ramakgopa announced in June that South Africa anticipates the addition of over 5.5 GW of new renewable energy projects by 2026. This move aligns with the country’s efforts to diversify its energy mix and reduce reliance on fossil fuels.

Additionally, South Africa aims to extend the operational life of its 40-year-old Koeberg nuclear plant by 20 years beyond its originally scheduled shutdown, which was slated for next year. Extending the plant’s life will provide a valuable source of baseload power, contributing to energy security and stability while the country continues to invest in renewable and gas-based energy generation.

Reporting by Moe Khaled; Editing by Sarah White