Eskom, South Africa’s coal-reliant energy utility, has turn into the world’s largest emitter of sulfur dioxide, a pollutant linked to illnesses starting from bronchial asthma to coronary heart assaults, the Centre for Analysis on Vitality and Clear Air mentioned.
Eskom produced 1 600 kilotons of the pollutant in 2019, the newest yr for which comparable knowledge is on the market, in line with the report launched on Tuesday by CREA, an air-pollution analysis group. That was greater than any firm, and the whole emission of the ability sector of any nation except for India.
Whereas China, the US and the European Union have slashed sulfur dioxide emissions in recent times by becoming air pollution abatement tools to energy crops, Eskom has solely executed so at certainly one of its 15 coal-fired amenities. Eskom has disputed a 2019 examine that tie its emissions to greater than 2 000 deaths a yr, although it mentioned its air pollution killed 320 folks yearly.
“They should adjust to minimal emission requirements to cut back the burden they place on public well being,” mentioned Lauri Myllyvirta, lead analyst at CREA, in an interview. “The one viable method to do this is to section out a number of the crops which might be within the worse situation by way of reliability and improve the remaining.”
Eskom and South Africa’s setting division didn’t reply to a request for remark.
China has slashed its annual emissions to 780 kilotons from 13 000 kilotons in 2006, CREA mentioned. The nation’s largest coal-fired energy plant operator, Huaneng Energy, emitted 26 kilotons of sulfur dioxide final yr from a fleet of energy stations with nearly twice Eskom’s put in capability of about 44 000 megawatts, it mentioned.
Eskom’s air pollution can be excessive due to the excessive sulfur content material of the coal it burns, Myllyvirta mentioned.
Myllyvirta put the price of becoming Eskom’s crops with the tools, generally known as flue-gas desulfurisation models, at between R100 billion and R200 billion. Eskom has beforehand mentioned it could must spend R300 billion to adjust to South Africa’s emission requirements.
The state-owned energy utility is greater than R400 billion in debt.
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