South Africa’s leading energy supplier has announced that, in conjunction with the City of Cape Town, it will be converting the old Athlone coal fired power station into a wind farm filled with eight new 1.5MW wind turbines.
It indicated that the implosion of the old power station is a symbol of its commitment to clean energy and plans to convert all existing coal fired powered stations into renewable energy sources by 2016.
Public Relations Officer Mark Schoon explained the rationale: “Although cheap in terms of money, coal fired energy is currently the most polluting form of energy generation as well as being the heaviest user of water. Emissions from coal-fired plants have substantial impacts on both air quality and global climate change.”
Some 92,8% of South Africa’s power is derived from coal, a higher percentage than most countries, according to Engineering News. And much of South Africa’s transport fuel is also derived from coal, making the domestic economy one of the world’s most carbon heavy globally. In the last financial year, according to the publication, Eskom burnt some 122,7-million tons of coal and produced 224,7-million tons of CO2 equal to just over 50% of the country’s total CO2 emissions. This ensures that South Africa maintain its position as the 12th highest polluter in the world, just above Mexico.
“Coal fired power plants also emit substantial amounts of sulfur dioxide (SO2), a precursor of fine particulate and acid rain, and of nitrogen oxides (NOx), a precursor of tropospheric ozone as well as particulate, in addition to producing other pollutants such as mercury and solid waste.” Schoon remarked that all these problems could be rectified by using various forms of alternative energy sources, resulting in significant improvement in health care and environmental impacts and cost. “It is time to make a switch to clean energy”
The Athlone station was commissioned in 1962 and was operated by the City of Cape Town. There are currently thirteen coal fired power stations in South Africa, ten of which are in operation and all run by Eskom. Most are situated in Mpumalanga.
Source: The Green Times