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Eskom seeks R140bn for shift from coal

Goal is to replace coal with renewables.
Eskom seeks funding for emissions plan. Image: Bloomberg

South African state power utility Eskom, Africa’s biggest greenhouse gas emitter, is pitching a $10 billion plan to global lenders that would see it shut the vast majority of its coal-fired plants by 2050 and embrace renewable energy.

Discussions have already started with development finance institutions like the World Bank and the African Development Bank, a senior Eskom official told Reuters.

“It’s a lot of money, so what we are putting on the table is to say to funders: South Africa can offer you the biggest point source of carbon emissions reduction in the world,” said Mandy Rambharos, general manager at Eskom’s Just Energy Transition office.

Eskom, which generates more than 90% of the country’s electricity chiefly by burning coal, is looking for around R99.96 t0 R114.24 for every tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent it cuts from its greenhouse gas emissions. Eskom currently emits around 213 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent a year.

The idea is to line up some of the funding before the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow in November. The utility is already looking at “repowering” its Komati coal plant using solar and battery storage and could present the project at COP26 to show it is serious about curbing emissions.

Rambharos said Eskom was modelling different scenarios to reach its target of “net zero” emissions by 2050.

The least aggressive path is the one the government laid out in a 2019 document called the Integrated Resource Plan, which envisaged Eskom shutting down some 35 000 megawatts (MW) of coal by 2050. As of March 2020, Eskom had around 41 000 MW of installed coal-fired capacity.

A bolder one would see even Medupi and Kusile, which will be two of the world’s largest coal plants when fully operational, shuttered in the 2040s, at least 20 years ahead of schedule and leaving Eskom with no coal by 2050 from 15 stations now.

While Eskom could use natural gas as part of its energy transition, the ultimate aim is to replace coal with renewables, Rambharos said. “That is the future. I don’t think we can look at 2050 and still see fossil fuels in there to be honest.”

Analysts have flagged the carbon intensity of South Africa’s economy as a major risk as investors and governments become increasingly attuned to climate concerns, and Rambharos said it was time to act.

“We will be left in this little bubble where we are not going to be able to export our wine or our fruit or our cars if we don’t transition,” she said. “The whole world is transitioning, we have to get on this bandwagon – for South Africa to remain competitive and for our economy to grow.”

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The private sector can spend half that amount and we will be ok.

Time for ESKOM to just die a slow painful death.

We honestly don’t need these thieves to be involved with renewables.

Exactly let the private sector do it they have been queuing for the last 6 years to do it.

IF they ever get that far the final cost will be 3 x as much (you have to grease palms as far as you go).

With debt ballooning to R 540 billion and an ever shrinking consumer base that will be fun !

Renewable infrastructure have a short life span. In the long run it will be very expensive and there is not much to gain.

Doesn’t Eskom learn anything . If the private sector had built Kusile and Madupi Eskom would have half the debt they have now and these power stations would have been up and running at least 4 years ago . Use the Private Sector for your renewable projects …. they way more efficient than you ! You have been warned …

I smell loadshedding, it is a new month after all.

“While Eskom could use natural gas as part of its energy transition, the ultimate aim is to replace coal with renewables, Rambharos said. “That is the future.”

with reference to the above mentioned paragraph it confirms that eskom was fast asleep for at least the past 25 years and now out of the blue discovers that coal is not the only way to generate electricity – strangely enough now they discover “That is the future”, after the private sector once again showed them that it can be done.

They’ve obviously found a way to get God to bribe them to send the sun and wind here

Utter stupidity and waste.

The technical and managerial incompetent can’t manage the current legacy and won’t be able to manage anything, now or in future.

It’s like asking a mechanic from the 80s to work on a Tesla.

To spend 1 Billio over twenty years means spending R 136,892.53 per day.

Now mulitply that with 140.

R 19 164 955.50 per day, for 20 years.

Enter De Ruiter, enter some sanity for eskom. Coal fired power stations are death machines and by 2050 this is going to be painfully obvious to everyone.

Many will live to regret Kusile and Medupi, that’s if we haven’t done it already

End of comments.

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