Coal Billionaire Says SA’s Grid Too Weak for Green Energy, Mzansi Accuses Him of Having “Vest Interest”

Coal Billionaire Says SA’s Grid Too Weak for Green Energy, Mzansi Accuses Him of Having “Vest Interest”

  • A Russian coal billionaire has claimed that South Africa's power grid cannot support green energy
  • Andrey Melnichenko said that the nation's efforts will be better spent rehabilitating and modernising its coal-fired power plants
  • The fact that Melnichenko's fortune was made off of burning coal was not lost on South Africans, who questioned why he was pushing against the just transition

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JOHANNESBURG- A Russian coal billionaire says that South Africa needs to fix its coal-fired power station rather than focusing on introducing renewable energy to the grid.

Andrey Melnichenko says SA power grid cannot support green energy
Russian coal billionaire Andrey Melnichenko claims SA's power grid is too weak for green energy. Image: Andrey Rudakov & Luca Sola
Source: Getty Images

Andrey Melnichenko claimed that it would be cheaper and faster for the country to fix its ageing fleet, which will result in reasonably priced electricity.

It is worth noting that Melnichenko, who founded Suek JSC, one of the world's largest integrated energy companies, made his fortune generating electricity using fuel, Bloomberg reported.

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The manner in which Melnichnko made his billions makes South Africans think the billionaire is calling for the rehabilitation of SA coal-fired plants because he has a vested interest.

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Here is what citizens had to say:

Vikash Ramsing questioned:

"What else would they say?"

Richard Peebles claimed:

"Mantashe is rubbing his hands in glee, once again beholden to his Russian masters."

Giel Oberholster commented:

"How else is he going to become riches? By selling coal."

Pedro Rick added:

"Russian Coal Billionaire… Enough said."

@TiTeddyBear quipped:

"The people who sell coal power stations say that coal power stations are the only solution? Gosh... How unexpected."

@beauchamp_lord accused:

"Russian coming to colonise vulnerable SA."

@markdavel asked:

"Any “vested interest” to declare?"

@RobertShivambu said:

"Can he focus on Russia as a criminal regime, please? What business does he have commenting about South Africa’s power grid?"

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Melnichenko's comments echoed Gwede Mantashe's resistance to the Just Energy Transition

President Cyril Ramaphosa has been campaigning hard for SA to add more solar and wind energy to the power grid. The president has been met with some opposition from prominent members of his government like Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe, BusinessLIVE reported.

Mantashe who is a former coal-mine union leader has vehemently decried the just transition to green energy and insisted that coal is in South Africa's future.

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Source: Briefly News

Lerato Mutsila avatar

Lerato Mutsila (Current affairs editor) Lerato Mutsila is a journalist with 3 years of experience. She obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Pearson Institute of Higher Education in 2020, majoring in broadcast journalism, political science and communication. Lerato joined the Briefly News current affairs desk in August 2022. Mutsila is also a fellow of the 2021/2022 Young African Journalists Acceleration programme, which trained African journalists in climate journalism. You can contact Lerato at

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