South Africa’s cabinet has endorsed an investment plan to help the country transition away from the use of coal, a key step in securing $8.5 billion in climate finance on offer from the world’s richest nations.
The plan envisages the closure and re-purposing of coal-fired power plants owned by Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd., the state power utility, so that additional renewable energy can be produced.
It also covers expanding the transmission grid and fostering the development of electric-vehicle and green hydrogen industries.
The endorsement, announced in a statement on Thursday, indicates that opposition to the deal from some government officials, including Gwede Mantashe, the energy minister, has been overcome. South Africa depends on coal for more than 80% of its power and 90,000 people are employed at coal mines.
The so-called Just Energy Transition Partnership, with the US, UK, Germany, France and the European Union, is expected to serve as a prototype for similar deals with coal-dependent developing nations such as Vietnam, Indonesia and India.