Eskom lays out US$10 billion Green Energy transition plan

Africa’s largest electricity utility, Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd, has laid out a green energy transition plan which will see the company transition away from generating electricity through fossil fuels to clean energy. The head of Eskom’s Just Energy Transition (JET) office, Mandy Rambharos indicated that the transition to green energy will cost US$10 billion (R146 billion).

In a presentation to the Presidential Climate Commission on Friday, Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter said the utility is planning to develop 8,017 MW of renewable energy projects. The projects will range from wind power to solar, hydropower and gas.

As part of its “Just Energy Transition” plan, Eskom is also looking at repurposing its old coal-fired power plants into renewable energy plants. The Komati power station in Mpumalanga is set to shut down by 2022, and has been earmarked for repurposing. The plant will serve as a pilot project for the conversion of a number of other facilities.

Once repurposed, Eskom will test the Komati plant’s grid performance as well as review the opportunities for the Komati community who are set to be affected by the switch from coal to renewables.

Proposed projects for the Green Energy Transition plan:

  • 1,566.2 megawatts of solar power
  • 600 megawatts of wind power
  • 4,000 megawatts of gas-fired power
  • 61 megawatts of battery storage
  • 1,400 megawatts from micro-grids
  • 390 megawatts from pumped storage

The World Bank has endorsed Eskom’s “Just Energy Transition” plan and has described it as “the most developed it has seen worldwide”. French development finance institution, Agence française de développement (AFD), also endorsed Eskom’s green energy plan and is working with Eskom to ensure it is successfully implemented.

Eskom currently has a R400bn ($27bn) debt burden and is hoping the transition to clean energy will enable it to reduce its debt by producing cleaner and cheaper renewable energy.

South Africa is currently the world’s 12th-biggest greenhouse-gas producer. The government is under pressure to ensure the nation cuts back its carbon emissions in compliance with the Paris Agreement.

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