Khanyisa power station

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{{#badges: CoalSwarm|Navbar-SouthAfricaCoal}} The Khanyisa Power Station is a proposed 300-megawatt (MW) coal-fired station for the Emalahleni area of South Africa.


The map below shows the approximate location where the plant would be built, near Kleinkopje colliery in Mpumalanga.

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Anglo Coal

The power station would be located on the site of Anglo American Thermal Coal’s Kleinkopje colliery in Mpumalanga. It would be fueled by discarded coal from the colliery and will function as an independent power producer. According to AATC, the initial commercial operations date for the project had been 2015, but owing to some challenges faced by the project, it would probably go into production in 2017. Problems include: (1) the amount of coal at local mines would not be sufficient to fuel the plant for its entire lifespan; (2) approval still needs to be received from multiple regulatory bodies.[1]

In April 2013, Anglo American regional head of strategy Ian Hall told Mining Weekly that the project would be deferred "to a more appropriate time" due to lack of demand in the platinum market. The sole offtaker for all the electricity from the plant is Anglo American Platinum (Amplats).[2]

In July 2014 Anglo Coal said it was continuing to evaluate the commercial options for the project. Anglo Coal said its discarded coal could support a 300- to 450MW power plant for Anglo’s South Africa operations, including its platinum mines, for 40-50 years. However, Anglo said it had no intention to finance, build or operate a power station, but would seek an Independent Power Producer to do so.[3]

In January of 2019, Nedbank pulled out funding for the project. Nedbank South Africa cites that it's no longer funding coal power producers due to their commitment to “green” funding, responsible lending and supporting sustainability initiatives.[4]

ACWA Power

Saudi Arabia's ACWA Power has expressed interest in the project.[5] In 2015 Anglo Coal transferred all duties and responsibilities related to the Khanyisa project to ACWA Power. ACWA Power will be bidding the Khanyisa IPP Project under the Department of Energy’s Coal Baseload Programme. ACWA Power has proposed increasing the approved capacity from 450 MW to 600 MW.[6]

ACWA submitted a bid for a 300 MW Khanyisa discard-coal project in Mpumalanga under South Africa’s baseload coal independent power producers (IPP) programme. All site-related environmental authorisations for the project have been secured. The department expects to announce preferred bidders in July 2016.[7]

IPP Selection Process

In October 2016, energy minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson announced that Thabametsi power station and Khanyisa power station were the preferred bidders for round one of the country's first Coal baseload Independent Power Producer programme (CBIPPP) . Under the programme, Khanyisa would begin operation in December 2020 and Thabametsi would begin operation in March 2021. The winning bids were 80c/kWh for Khanyisa and 79c/kWh. The tariff would increase to R1.1c once cost of connection is included.[8][9]

High Court ruling cases uncertainty over project

In a March 2017 ruling, the North Gauteng High Court confirmed that a climate-change assessment must be done prior to the authorisation of any new coal-fired power station in South Africa. According to a May 2017 assessment by the Daily Maverick, the ruling casts doubt on the future of the KiPower power station and the Colenso power station.[10] In September 2017, groundWork, represented by the Centre for Environmental Rights, instituted two new court applications in the Pretoria High Court challenging decisions by the Department of Environmental Affairs to authorize the KiPower and Khanyisa plants without first conducting an assessment of climate impacts.[11]

In September 2017, environmental justice organisation groundWork, represented by the Centre for Environmental Rights, instituted two new court applications in the Pretoria High Court challenging the decisions of the Minister of Environmental Affairs and the Department of Environmental Affairs to authorise Khanyisa without a full assessment of the plant's climate change impacts.[12]

South Africa's draft Integrated Resource Plan for Electricity (IRP), released in August 2018, contains plans for an additional 1000 MW of new coal-fired power on top of existing and under-construction coal plants, namely Khanyisa and Thabametsi power station. The inclusion of coal is being challenged by environmental organizations.[13]

As of September 2018 the challenge to the plant's environmental authorisation without a climate change impact assessment is still under review in the Pretoria High Court. The plant also has yet to obtain a generation licence from NERSA, and environmental groups say if a license is granted it will be challenged in the High Court.[14]

Public opposition

Life After Coal/Impilo Ngaphandle Kwamalahle campaign

The Khanyisa project is opposed by the Life After Coal/Impilo Ngaphandle Kwamalahle campaign, a joint effort by EarthLife, groundWork, and the Centre for Environmental Rights aimed a discouraging investment in new coal-fired power stations and mines, accelerating the retirement of South Africa's coal infrastructure, and enabling a just transition to renewable energy systems.[11]

Project Details

  • Sponsor: ACWA Power
  • Parent company:
  • Location: Witbank, South Africa
  • Coordinates: -26.76955, 29.200974 (approximate)
  • Status: Pre-permit development
  • Capacity: 300 MW
  • Type: Circulating fluidized-bed
  • Projected in service:
  • Coal Type: Waste coal[2]
  • Coal Source: Anglo's collieries in eMalahleni, formerly Witbank[2]
  • Source of financing:

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