HomeIndustry SectorsFinance and PolicySouth Africa's Eskom set for more clean energy research

South Africa’s Eskom set for more clean energy research

20 October 2010 – South Africa’s power utility Eskom said on Tuesday it will conduct more research in clean technology as it seeks a new World Bank loan to finance renewable energy power projects.

The power utility declined to disclose the amount it was seeking to borrow, but the Treasury has previously said Eskom may tap about 1 billion rand from the World Bank’s Clean Technology Fund.

"We plan to increase our research and development efforts in solar wind, bio-mass, and hydro (power generation)," Eskom said in an email response to Reuters questions.

South Africa relies heavily on coal-fired plants to generate power.

The World Bank in April approved a controversial $3.75 billion Eskom loan to develop a coal-fired power plant in South Africa despite the lack of support from the country’s key Western allies.

Eskom said it was already in talks with the World Bank to access funds from the bank’s Clean Technology Fund for renewable energy projects in a bid to boost power generation in Africa’s largest economy.

Eskom has been struggling to find all the money it needs to pay for two new 4,800 MW coal-fired power plants, but it said there was no problem in sourcing funds for renewables.

Renewable energy already makes up 5 percent of Eskom’s total generation capacity. It includes some hydro-power generated locally and imported from Mozambique and wind power.