Coal-Related Air Pollution Kills 2,200 South Africans Annually- But There Is A Glimmer Of Hope With This Multi-Million Investment

By  |  August 21, 2019

South Africa has landed on a major investment deal that will see the country invest in clean energy projects.

The deal is courtesy a joint venture between the UK Government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Macquarie-owned Green Investment Group.

UK Climate Investments (UKCI) has made known the funding agreement with H1 Holdings to support the development of 254MW of renewable projects. They include the 4MW Kruisvallei Hydro project, the 140MW Kangnas Wind Farm and the 110MW Perdekraal East Wind Farm.

The aforementioned energy projects are expected to generate clean electricity enough to power approximately 200,000 homes annually.

The investment will also help cut about 844,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually.

The renewable energy initiatives which are scheduled to be completed by 2020 will provide job opportunities for at least 40 percent of construction, operations and maintenance staff from local communities.

Richard Abel, Managing Director of UKCI, said: “Over 90 percent of electricity generation capacity in South Africa currently relies on fossil fuels. Our partnership with H1 Holdings supports the country’s transition to a new energy mix promoting cleaner growth in southern Africa’s largest economy whilst stimulating economic development in rural areas and supporting increased BEE participation in the renewables sector.”

Owed to the heavy reliance on coal, South Africa is among 15 largest emitters of CO2 worldwide and numerous reports have highlighted that the Southern African country has one of the world’s worst air pollution spots.

An analysis of satellite imagery by Greenpeace, a Netherlands-based environmental non-profit, showed the world’s deadliest air pollution spot is in South Africa. The environmental group also released a new survey recently indicating that South Africa is home to the world’s second-largest hotspot of Sulphur dioxide emissions.

Researchers also concluded Johannesburg is the worst-hit place in South Africa with regards to air pollution. The pollution levels in Jo’burg is reported to costs residents 3.23 years of their life.

Desktop research by civil society group groundWork projects that air pollution from Eskom’s power plants alone kills about 2,200 a year. The heavily polluted air also continues to be a grave threat to climate change.

In a move to provide cleaner and more safer energy, the Cyril Ramaphosa-led state plans to install 8,400 megawatts of wind energy, 8,400 megawatts of solar photovoltaic energy and 1,000 megawatts of concentrated solar power by 2030.

The country known to be Africa’s most industrialised is lucky to have excellent solar and wind resources at its disposal which would spur investments in renewable energy.

Currently, renewable power sources account for just under 3 percent of South Africa’s national electricity supply.

Featured Image Courtesy: Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty

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