Banks say they have to keep funding at least some coal projects for now because an immediate halt would cause upheaval.
It is not clear publicly just how bad the picture is across Eskom’s aging coal power station fleet. Strong indications are that things are bad.
Rich nations shouldn’t force South Africa to ban new coal-power projects, energy minister Gwede Mantashe said.
Eskom will suspend load shedding at 5am on Thursday but has warned that “significant risks remain” and the rolling blackouts could be implemented again “at short notice”.
Load shedding will continue until well into next week, electricity utility Eskom said on Friday evening.
Eskom will implement stage-2 national load shedding from 9pm on Thursday evening. The rolling blackouts will continue until 5am, the state-owned utility said.
Eskom has said retrofitting about half of its coal-fired plants with pollution-cutting equipment would cost more than R300-billion and boost electricity costs.
A South African fund that was established to promote investment in infrastructure expects to galvanise funding for projects worth more than R100-billion by next year.
South Africa could be plunged back into load shedding as the national electricity system is under “severe pressure”, Eskom warned.
Positive environmental news is rare. All the more reason to cheer an effort that might see wealthy nations help South Africa curb its coal addiction.