South African Government turns to renewable energy as state utility Eskom breaks down

South African Government turns to renewable energy as state utility Eskom breaks down

With South Africa’s state electricity utility in dire financial straits and straining to meet demand, the government has reverted to courting independent renewable energy producers to help power the continent’s most industrialized economy.

President Cyril Ramaphosa, his Energy Minister Jeff Radebe and the Treasury have all recently heralded solar and wind-powered plants as the answer to meeting South Africa’s future electricity demands, citing falling costs and environmental considerations. The government also needs private investors to help fund new infrastructure: Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd., which generates about 95 percent of the nation’s power, can’t afford to maintain its aging coal-fired plants, never mind build new ones, and the Treasury has no cash to spare.

Renewable energy companies have reason to be skeptical. South Africa initiated one of the world’s most successful renewable-power programs starting in 2011, which garnered more than 200 billion rand ($14.4 billion) in investment from 112 producers. But projects were stalled for almost three years during ex-President Jacob Zuma’s rule as he and Eskom officials pushed to build nuclear plants, a deal that was tainted by corruption allegations and was shelved when Zuma was forced to step down a year ago.

“They’re putting things right,’’ said Mike Rossouw, an independent energy adviser. “The renewables outlook is getting better and better.

That’s imperative because financiers are becoming increasingly reluctant to fund coal-fired projects, amid a global move toward more environmentally friendly forms of energy, according to Radebe.

See https://mybroadband.co.za/news/energy/297562-government-turns-to-renewable-energy-as-eskom-breaks-down.html

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Government turns to renewable energy as Eskom breaks down
With South Africa’s state electricity utility in dire financial straits and straining to meet demand, the government has reverted to courting independent renewable energy producers to help power the continent’s most industrialized economy.

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