South Africa plans to cut its reliance on the fossil fuel to about 50 percent by 2050, down from more than 80 percent now, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
Nelisiwe Magubane, director-general of the country’s Energy Department told the news organization that the 50 percent goal set by the continent's biggest coal producer is part of an integrated energy plan currently under development.
“Whatever the scenario is, it’s clear that coal, over time, is going to play less and less of a significant roll in our energy mix,” Magubane told Bloomberg’ reporters during an interview in New York.
South Africa has committed to invest about €33.3 million ($45 million) to upgrade the nation's aging energy infrastructure while also working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
At the same time, the country is build what are expected to be the third- and fourth-largest coal-fired power plants in the world, but even as the work continues, South African official have expressed uncertainty about coal, fearing that carbon taxes and/or other penalties it may face in the future may make coal just too expensive to use.
Although she declined to get into specifics, Magubane told Bloomberg that as coal use falls, it will be replaced by a mix of renewable energy, hydropower, nuclear and electricity from neighboring countries.
About 42 percent of new generating capacity is expected to come from renewables, Magubane said.