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South Africa Gets $497 Million to Produce Clean Energy From Coal Plant Site

  • World Bank approves financing for renewable power projects
  • Komati plant shut last fossil fuel-burning unit this week
The Komati power station in Mpumalanga, South Africa.

The Komati power station in Mpumalanga, South Africa.

Photographer: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg

A coal-fired plant in South Africa that shut its last unit this week secured $497 million from the World Bank and other funders to generate renewable energy from the site, a project that will serve as a working model for the transition away from fossil fuels. 

The move toward cleaner energy is particularly complex in South Africa, which has chronic electricity shortages, is the world’s 13th-biggest source of greenhouse-gas emissions and has one of the highest unemployment rates. State-owned utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. generates more than 80% of the nation’s power from coal, produced from mines that employ about 90,000 workers.