How long will the coal last? | Energy Bulletin: "The building of the new coal-fired power station Medupi in a sensitive natural environment is an acknowledgement that something is more important – namely that the nation gets sufficient energy. This was the reasoning of both South Africa and the World Bank before the decision to lend SA $3.75 to build one of the world’s largest coal-fired power stations despite international protests. That, in addition, the ANC government owns shares in one of the three companies involved were also ignored...
... Despite a shortage of electricity it has been taken for granted in South Africa as an infinite resource – and cheap electricity is a reason that many foreign energy-craving industries have established themselves here.
A coal-fired power station has a working life of approximately 40 years but the existing stations are inefficient and old and the heavy coal transports they require dirty the nation’s roads.
Today 90 percent of South Africa’s energy comes from coal. 75% of the nation currently has electricity, but the need for electricity is calculated to grow faster than the supply and not even the Medupi installation will be sufficient in a few years..."