One major South African coal mining company is already transitioning to renewable energy by generating sun and wind energy for sale on the national grid. It has a strategy of mining increasingly lower volumes of thermal coal and generating increasingly higher volumes of sun and wind energy. This is an exemplary strategy and one that Eskom should encourage.
Eskom can do so by allowing companies like this to honour their coal-supply contracts by putting the equivalent worth of sun and wind energy into the grid. The long and the short of it is that Eskom must begin immediately to sign energy contracts and not coal contracts. Miners must have the option of delivering coal or renewable electricity. South Africa needs this flexibility to decarbonise.
Amazingly, calculations show that the transition to this cleaner future ups profit margins and generates more jobs – two benefits South Africa must be allowed to provide. Continuing to burn coal when cleaner generation is on offer is not on.