Mega-Coal Plants in South Africa: ‘Big Projects That Do Not Fit Their Time’

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Keith Schneider for Circle of Blue:For over a century South Africa’s economy fueled itself with the nation’s ample coal reserves, which today generate 90 percent of the nation’s electricity and 35 percent of its liquid fuel, employ tens of thousands of workers, and consume two percent of the water. Kusile and Medupi, two of the largest coal plants in the world, were promoted by South Africa’s elected leaders as signature statements of the new era of liberty, the freedom to think big, and the determination to power a modern economy of opportunity that would serve all of the people. That sense of optimism and zeal was reflected in Kusile’s Zulu name, which means “new dawn.”Over the last several years, dawn has evolved into a gathering storm. Long construction delays and escalating costs, engineering challenges, and the intensifying risk of scarce water have pushed Kusile and its sister plant into the eye of a typhoon of economic, ecological, and social disturbances engulfing South Africa. In so many ways, the troubled development of Kusile and Medupi, and the tumult enveloping South Africa’s deteriorating financial and social condition, are not just mirror images of each other. The two plants, projected to be almost a decade late in completion and $US 20 billion or more over budget, are among the principal causes.The trouble is not simply a matter of managerial missteps. The vortex of disruption that envelops Medupi and Kusile reflects the clash between the economic and ecological operating systems of two centuries. Kusile and Medupi arguably represent the most prominent global examples of big projects that do not fit their time.Full article: South Africa Coal Projects Collide With Water Scarcity, Financial Turmoil Mega-Coal Plants in South Africa: ‘Big Projects That Do Not Fit Their Time’last_img

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