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Eskom urged by Greenpeace to quit coal and stick with t...

Newsdeck

Newsdeck

Eskom urged by Greenpeace to quit coal and stick with transmission

Steam rises at sunrise from the Lethabo Power Station, a coal-fired power station owned by state power utility ESKOM near Sasolburg, South Africa, March 2, 2016. Picture taken March 2, 2016. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko/File Photo
By Bloomberg
11 Jun 2019 0

Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd., the beleaguered South African power utility, should quit coal-fired generation over the next 20 years and focus instead on transmission and regional grids, according to Greenpeace Africa.

Such a shift would require a massive overhaul at Eskom since coal-fed power is the backbone of its fleet. But the debt-strapped utility, which supplies more than 90% of South Africa’s electricity, is under fire from environmental groups who claim it’s far from ready for the global transition to cleaner fuels.

“Eskom’s reform is almost laughably overdue,” Happy Khambule, Greenpeace Africa’s senior political adviser, said in a statement. “The utility is technically insolvent, inefficient, unable to guarantee the security of supply, wildly unprepared for an energy transition to renewable energy and is the country’s biggest emitter of toxic pollutants and greenhouse gases.”

Eskom didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Johannesburg-based utility, saddled with more than $30 billion of debt, is seeking major bailouts from a government that doesn’t have the money to spare. The demands of steering the troubled company prompted Chief Executive Officer Phakamani Hadebe to quit last month, after just 16 months in the post. DM

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