On Wednesday, German state-owned development bank KfW announced it has granted South African parastatal Eskom a loan of $339 million (ZAR4 billion) to assist in upgrading the national electricity grid.
With the country’s power grid under severe constraint, the loan will be used to connect renewable energy power solutions including wind and solar plants to the national grid to contribute towards achieving a reliable and secure supply of power, KfW said.
Norbert Kloppenburg, a management board member at KfW, said in a statement: “The adjustment of the energy supply is a big step for South Africa away from dependency on coal towards a more sustainable electricity generation.”
KfW claims that by adding more renewable sources into the country’s national energy mix, South Africa can reduce its CO2 emissions by an estimated 5.5 million tonnes per annum.
Eskom’s electricity shortages
Support and assistance from KfW comes at a critical time for the state power utility, which has had to implement stage 1 load shedding this week, which the utility said was due to a shortage of generation capacity as several units were out of service due to planned and unplanned outages.
Not only has the generation and infrastructure taken a knock but former director and chairperson Zola Tsotsi stepped down following an investigation where claims were made against Tsotsi for “misconduct and dishonesty”.
Following a board meeting, the relationship was dissolved amicably where Eskom said Tsotsi left on a good note saying that the board had unity of purpose and that his decision to step down was in the interest of the company and the country and was done in order to allow the board to focus on the core issues facing the utility.