South Africa’s coal industry contributes significantly to employment opportunities, income generation as well as accounting for 6% of the country’s total merchandised exports. Currently, there are two large coal-fired electricity generation stations under construction, namely Medupi and Kusile. In the case of the latter, the Department of Environmental Affair’s Record of Decision states that Kusile must be carbon dioxide capture ready.
South Africa also has a significant requirement for additional energy supply of electricity generation capacity as well as liquid fuel production. Moreover, there is a multitude of smaller industries that contribute to national carbon dioxide emissions.
South Africa is engaged in international climate change negotiations, addressing how to reduce Carbon dioxide emissions, including domestic emissions. During the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change Conference of Parties in Copenhagen, the South African President committed the country to lower greenhouse gas emissions – provided that international support in the form of funding and technology was forthcoming to assist with such an action. Such a commitment entails the application of a portfolio of clean technologies – including Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS).
Notwithstanding South Africa’s continually increasing implementation of renewable energies and energy efficiency measures, fossil fuels are forecast to remain the major source of primary energy over the medium term.
These factors have led South Africa to explore the potential of CCS in the country and consequently to the establishment of the South African Centre for CCS (SACCCS) in partnership with national and international stakeholders
The South African Government has mandated the development of CCS in South Africa via the following:
- CCS is part of the Long Term Mitigation Scenarios previously developed by the then Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism;
- CCS is one of South Africa’s eight Near-term Priority Flagship Programmes of the National Climate Change Response White Paper, October, 2011 that looks to address both greenhouse gas mitigation and climate change adaptation;
- Cabinet endorsed the South African CCS Road Map during May, 2013; and
- CCS is included in the National Development Plan 2030.