Pretoria, South Africa — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 15 March 2011 – The African Development Bank (AfDB) will probably lend South Africa’s national power utility Eskom Holdings Limited $370 million for green energy projects as the country tries to build its capacity and prevent outages.
“The Tunis-based AfDB’s board will consider the loan in June, and there is a substantial probability it will be approved, the bank climate change and energy director Hela Cheikhrouhou said in an interview here. “The loan and concessional debt facility will be for a 200MW wind turbine project in the Western Cape province, and a 100MW solar energy facility in the Northern Cape province,” she added.
“This would be the initial large-scale foray of Eskom into renewable energy,” Cheikhrouhou told reporters here. “The step will allow South Africa to move away from a reliance on coal,” she continued.
State-run Eskom currently has capacity of about 40,000MW at its power plants, more than 80% of which are coal fired. The Johannesburg-based utility supplies power to Xstrata Plc’s ferrochrome furnaces, AngloGold Ashanti Limited’s gold mines and BHP Billiton Limited’s aluminium smelters in South Africa.
Eskom “’ one of the 10 largest power utilities in the world by capacity “’ has struggled to fund a US$70.7 billion expansion to prevent a repetition of power blackouts that hit mines, factories and cities in 2008. It was given a US$3.75 billion World Bank loan in April last year for its expansion plans, on condition that the company introduced renewable energy projects.