Eskom, which is seeking funding to move away from coal-fired power, held “fruitful discussions” with Western climate envoys recently, the state-owned power utility’s CEO said on Friday.
Climate envoys from Britain, the US, Germany and France visited South Africa several weeks ago and held talks about ways to support the country’s move to cleaner energy sources.
South Africa, the world’s 12th biggest carbon emitter, said at the time that it needed major financial support from wealthy nations to accelerate its shift away from coal and that it wanted an “irrevocable agreement” that could be signed at the United Nations Cop26 climate summit next month.
We look forward to announcements at Cop26 that will give additional impetus to South Africa’s decarbonisation plans and green energy ambitions
“We look forward to announcements at Cop26 that will give additional impetus to South Africa’s decarbonisation plans and green energy ambitions,” Eskom CEO André de Ruyter told a local energy conference.
Eskom supplies more than 90% of the electricity in South Africa, chiefly by burning coal at its 15 coal-fired power stations. But it wants to “re-power and repurpose” coal plants that are reaching the end of their operating life with low-carbon technology including solar power generation and battery storage.
De Ruyter said on Friday that Eskom would be shutting down up to 12GW of coal units over the next decade, rising to about 22GW by 2035, and that this represented an opportunity.
“Eskom is a desirable counter-party for developmental financing institutions and lenders who are keen to engage with a single entity rather than with multiple partners to achieve a meaningful reduction in carbon emissions,” he said.
Although Eskom will seek a share of the renewable energy allocation in government’s energy plan, it will not seek to corner the local market, De Ruyter added. — Reported by Alexander Winning, (c) 2021 Reuters