GE releases position paper on accelerating South Africa’s energy transition with gas power and renewables

PUBLISHED: Tue, 08 Jun 2021 09:00:55 GMT

Content provided by APO Group. CNBC Africa provides content from APO Group as a service to its readers and does not edit the articles it publishes. CNBC Africa is not responsible for the content provided by APO Group.

Whitepaper discusses South Africa’s urgent need for affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy, to spur industrialization while addressing its climate change ambitions; Highlights how flexible gas power will play a critical role in South Africa’s future energy mix; Underscores how gas power complements renewables with a clear path to decarbonization through coal to gas switching; Recommends LNG as fuel of choice for implementation of South Africa’s Gas to Power program.

Download report here:

As South Africa is addressing climate change as an urgent priority with strong commitments on policy and regulation, GE (NYSE: GE) today shared its position that the accelerated and strategic deployment of both renewable energy and gas power can make substantial progress in combatting climate change in the near-term, while securing a path to a lower-carbon emitting world in the future. In the newly published position paper, titled “Accelerating South Africa’s energy transition with gas power and renewables”, GE said neither power source will be sufficient alone, but when deployed in tandem can provide decarbonization at the pace and scale needed to achieve substantial climate goals.

“A combination of renewables and gas power will be the fastest and most cost-effective pathway to decarbonization for South Africa,” said Elisee Sezan, CEO for GE’s Gas Power business in sub-saharan Africa. “Reliable gas technology solutions and renewable energy sources will make investments economically sound for immediate emissions reductions and we believe that gas will not just be a backup fuel but will be the new baseload capacity for the coal repurposing national program.”

According to the whitepaper, affordable, reliable, and sustainable electricity is South Africa’s most urgent need. About 4–6 GW of power is needed in the near term to ease current electricity constraints and the country aims to add about 20 GW of additional power with renewables and gas in the long term. Research shows South Africa’s energy mix will evolve to include greater amounts of renewables, even as coal remains the dominant fuel beyond 2040. GE believes in and promotes additional renewables capacity, augmented where needed with gas generation to provide system flexibility and dependable capacity, as the most effective near-term action to decarbonize the energy sector. Given the time it takes to deploy new renewables and to implement energy efficiency improvements, coal-to-gas switching represents a potential quick win for emissions reductions.

“Retiring aging coal-fired capacity and replacing it with new, high efficiency combined cycle gas power technology would almost immediately bring down power sector emissions and total energy-related CO2 emissions,” said Nosizwe Dlengezele, GE Gas Power’s chief commercial officer, sub-saharan Africa. “Case in point, GE’s HA gas turbine portfolio offers record levels of more than 64 percent combined cycle efficiency, fuel flexibility, and the capability to transition from gas to low-carbon fuels such as hydrogen, and this positions the HA gas turbine as an ideal fit for South Africa.”

In South Africa, coal-fired plants account for 84.5 percent of total CO2 emissions and the move to a more diversified fuel mix will see a drastic reduction in the carbon footprint of the country. By 2030, South Africa aims to reduce its annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 28 percent less than its 2015-set targets in the updated draft of the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) ( and become a net zero economy by 2050.

The paper notes that the timing is right for South Africa to implement its Gas-to-Power programme, as reliable power is a prerequisite for economic development and many industries are deeply affected by power sector inefficiencies. Due to its competitiveness and bankability either as a bridge or destination fuel, the paper views LNG (Liquified Natural Gas) as a fuel of choice for decarbonization in countries like South Africa without adequate commercial gas reserves, and the introduction of new LNG supply is a critical first step in developing the Gas Master Plan.

GE also highlights the need for solid collaboration between the private and public sector to help ensure effective implementation of projects end to end, as well as extensive gas policies and developmental goals to ensure the country reaps all the benefits it comes with.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of GE.

For more information, please contact:
Anne Ezeh  
Gas Power Communications Director
Sub-Saharan Africa   
+225 05 65 44 6151                                                                                     

Laura Aresi
External Relations Leader
GE Gas Power
+39 02 67335600 

About GE Gas Power:
GE Gas Power is a world leader in natural gas power technology, services, and solutions. Through relentless innovation and continuous partnership with our customers, we are providing more advanced, cleaner, and efficient power that people depend on today and building the energy technologies of the future. With the world’s largest installed base of gas turbines and more than 600 million operating hours across GE’s installed fleet, we offer advanced technology and a level of experience that’s unmatched in the industry to build, operate and maintain leading gas power plants. For more information, please visit and follow GE’s gas power businesses on Twitter ( and LinkedIn (

Media files

Sign Up for Our Newsletter Daily Update
Get the best of CNBC Africa sent straight to your inbox with breaking business news, insights and updates from experts across the continent.
Get this delivered to your inbox, and more info about about our products and services. By signing up for newsletters, you are agreeing to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.