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Eskom coal plants might be at risk – Water issue

Eskom might face difficulties in raising funds for its coal-fired projects in future if environmental organisations kept challenging decisions to fund coal plants, Econometrix’s chief economist, Azar Jammine, said yesterday.

Jammine was reacting to the release of a report by the World Bank on Friday, which showed that water and environmental concerns regarding the coal-fired Medupi power plant were valid.

The World Bank’s inspection report shows that significant environmental, social and climate impacts were not adequately addressed by the bank when it awarded a $3.75 billion (R31bn) loan to Eskom for the construction of Medupi.

Source: IOL

The production of electricity using coal or nuclear power is strongly reliant on water. But as South Africa’s water supply dwindels is it still wise to invest in these ancient technologies that may at some point be used to desalinate the very same water they require to produce electricity? This would surely be a highly inefficient process.

Modern renewable technologies require effectivly zero water to produce electricity and this is surely the way forward in a country such as South Africa with ample sun and wind to generate electricity. These technologies still require a larger capital investment but since they do not require water, a scare resource in our country, the short term benefits must be made public.


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