Why We Can't Afford To Let Eskom Fail
Stuff Magazine|October/November 2021
Called a just transition, the process of moving from coal to less environmentally damaging technology is not only the correct approach for our energy needs but allows the power utility to transition itself – and its related ecosystem – using a system that is also financially sustainable.

Eskom, as we know, is too big to fail. The consequences are enormous for the country, its sovereign debt, its credit ratings (they still matter) and the whole economy.

But what if you could turn Eskom’s iniquitous State Capture debt and the need to urgently find a cleaner source of power into an advantage to access significant tranches of global green investment funds?

“It is becoming virtually impossible to secure funding for new coal-generation projects,” says Eskom CEO André de Ruyter, “and insurance companies are targeting large carbon emitters with punitive premiums or outright refusal to cover, as they seek to address the root cause of increased claims caused by climate change”.

But there is R150bn of concessional green financing from development finance institutions around the world. Such funding could kickstart Eskom’s green transition, necessary to replace an estimated 8,000MW to 10,000MW of coal-powered stations due for retirement in the next 10 years. But in half that time, Eskom could build 7,400MW of clean generation and 244MWh of battery storage.

“Eskom is keen to act as an anchor market for electric vehicles, not least because we see it as an important growth opportunity for our business,” de Ruyter adds. “Eskom wants to explore the opportunity to pivot the motor industry to electric vehicles by using its own demand for locally manufactured EVs to enable investment”.

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