South Africa’s state owned utility Eskom expects to move more into renewable energy using solar and wind sources. The utility relies on coal for 90% of its power generation, but as the world’s 12th largest polluter, it is being forced to help improve the carbon record of South Africa.
Steve Lennon, Eskom’s managing director for corporate services, said projects would take shape next year. “You will be seeing the timing of big renewables, the timing of nuclear; you will be seeing more certainty on underground coal gasification … first quarter next year you will see a lot of things come together,” he said.
Eskom plans to replace old coal plants, which it will start decommissioning from 2025, with more efficient technologies to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions, now at 230 million tons.
The utility is also betting on the country’s solar thermal potential, which Lennon said was in the tens of thousands of megawatts. Eskom is designing a 100 MW pilot solar thermal plant, which will cost an estimated R6 billion.
The company approached the World Bank’s Clean Technology Fund (CTF) to help fund the plant. Other funds would come from Eskom’s own balance sheet, the government and private investors.
Eskom is also due to restart the procurement for a 100 MW wind farm which it suspended earlier this year, Lennon said. “We’ve got the site; we’ve got all the approvals. Within 18 months it could be built,” he said.
Source..Alternative Energy Africa