The energy minister of South Africa, one of the most coal-dependent countries on the planet, has announced the approval of $5.4 billion for 28 wind, geothermal, and solar projects.
This is one of five auctions in the country’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Program. Contracts will be signed November 5th and the power will become operational between 2014 and 2016.
The five auctions were originally going to add 3.725 GW of new renewable projects by 2016, but a new target aims to add an additional 3.2 GW to the initial goal by 2020.
As of right now, about 85% of the country’s 41 GW annual electricity demand is met by coal. South Africa is currently one of the 20 biggest global carbon emitters.
These efforts could soon meet 10% of the country’s current energy demand. It is hoped that with funding coming from the increasing carbon tax, which charges $16 per ton of emissions above the first 60% of benchmarked emissions, it could lead to a noticeable decrease in South Africa’s pollution.
If one of the world’s most coal-dependent countries can work toward making this change, there’s no reason why the rest of us can’t do it. It’s one small, very positive and hopeful step toward a better future.
Image CC licensed by Tracy Hunter: Closed coal-fired power plant in Soweto. Now used as a recreation area. Between the two towers you can bungie jump. Below is a restaurant and pool tables.