As it continues to find ways out of its crippling debt, South Africa’s power company Eskom is planning a proposal that will enable it to access the funds secured for the country’s climate change. The arrangement would enable Eskom Holdings to access the $8.5 billion pledged by the EU, United States, the UK, Germany and France without adding again to its debt burden.
The climate change funds were pledged at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow in November 2021 and if approved, Eskom will invest them in renewable energy projects as it plans to transition away from coal-fired plants.
Eskom has a proposed pipeline of almost R200 billion ($13.3 billion) of renewable energy, gas and battery storage projects and needs to spend at least R120 billion- approximately $8 billion- on transmission lines.
With coal supplying more than 80% of South Africa’s electric plants, the country’s greenhouse emissions are the 13th highest in the world. Eskom has been advised by South Africa’s finance minister Enoch Godongwana to embark on job cuts and sell some of its assets in order to reduce its debt, estimated to reach R416 billion by the end of March.
According to Eskom head of generation Phillip Dukashe, the availability of the coal-fired fleet dipped below 60% with more than 20 000 MW out of service. On Wednesday morning Eskom chief operating officer Jan Oberholzer told journalists that Eskom is using its emergency reserves faster than it is able to replenish them.
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