Mon, 24 Jun 2024
22.7 C

SA needs natural gas for cleaner transition, continued industrialisation

Home Infrastructure Energy – Power Generation SA needs natural gas for cleaner transition, continued industrialisation

GAS has an important role to play in South Africa’s energy transition journey, says Prashaen Reddy, a partner at global consultants, Kearney. Reddy is an expert on energy matters and his comments come amidst the calls for public comments on a draft Gas Master Plan. The Plan was released for comment at the end of April.

Reddy says the southern African region has recently been fortunate with several gas finds in Mozambique, South Africa, and Namibia that allow for the development of indigenous resources to drive industrialisation, social development, and economic growth.

Today, the industry employs at least 70,000 people and contributes between R300 billion and R500 billion a year to South Africa’s GDP based on the existing indigenous gas supply.
“Additionally, to maintain and grow the industrial base there are few substitutes readily and economically available for gas in the energy-intensive industries, and hence industrialisation may further decline should no gas solution be found in the years ahead,” says Reddy.

Gas-to-power is another critical enabler to stabilising the power sector as we balance our energy mix from being primarily driven by coal to other technologies as outlined in the recent IRP.

“Our research on balancing energy security with sustainability explores how ‘natural gas is playing a pivotal role in the global energy transition. To support the transition to a cleaner energy mix, there is a need for intermittent reliance on cleaner hydrocarbons (such as natural gas) for energy security, until such time that renewable/ nuclear capacity (or other baseload technologies) can be built up and installed,” he says.

Notably, natural gas is the cleanest and most emission-friendly fossil fuel that is also suitable for peak generation shaving and baseload provision. Additionally, it is a good enabling partner for more variable renewable energy sources due to higher operational flexibility and lower capital costs.

Conversely, natural gas still produces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and is limited by inadequate gas infrastructure.

This highlights the need to abate GHG emissions from natural gas production and usage which can be done through carbon capture, utilisation, and storage (CCUS). To address the lack of critical gas infrastructure, significant international and regional financial investments are required.

Financiers will find it difficult to be clear cut on defunding hydrocarbon projects due to the commercial viability, markets, and returns the sector still generates in the medium term. The world will be unable to simply switch off hydrocarbons which still make up over 80% of the world’s energy mix.

“Gas will play an important role as a transitionary hydrocarbon, offering security and a reduced environmental impact until renewable and nuclear capacity can be added,” says Reddy.

Most Popular

SPONSORED NEWS: WEG Africa pioneers local manufacture of MV softstarters

WEG Africa has become the first OEM to produce medium voltage (MV) softstarters in South Africa, reducing lead times for customers and supporting the...

Project proposals requested to sustain water and energy supply to EC ports

TRANSNET National Ports Authority (TNPA) has issued three Requests for Proposals (RFPs) for the construction of two solar-powered seawater desalination plants and a renewable...

NMB an enabling environment for new auto plant

STELLANTIS is privileged to have been invited by the Nelson Mandela Bay Chamber of Commerce to open the chamber’s first ever “Bay of Opportunity...

CESA survey shows higher private sector involvement, lower confidence

BUSINESS confidence remains a pressing concern in South Africa, with Consulting Engineers South Africa’s (CESA) Bi-Annual Economic and Capacity Survey (BECS), for the period...