South Africa faces challenges in transition away from coal

MASAKHANE, South Africa (AP) — Living in the shadow of one of South Africa’s largest coal-fired power stations, residents of Masakhane fear job losses if the facility is closed as the country moves to cleaner energy.

A significant polluter because it relies on coal to generate about 80% of its electricity, South Africa plans to reduce that to 59% by 2030 by phasing out some of its 15 coal-fired power stations and increasing its use of renewable energy. Its target is zero carbon emissions by 2050.

After receiving pledges of $8.5 billion at last year’s global climate summit in Scotland, South Africa’s plan to transition away from coal was widely endorsed at the COP27 climate conference in Egypt where officials signed agreements for some parts of the loan funding.

The move from coal will be difficult for the continent’s most developed economy. South African homes and businesses are already suffering daily scheduled power cuts — often more than seven hours a day — because the state-owned power utility, Eskom, cannot produce adequate supplies of electricity.

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