South African state power utility Eskom, Africa’s biggest greenhouse gas emitter, is pitching a $10 billion plan to global lenders that would see it shut the vast majority of its coal-fired plants by 2050 and embrace renewable energy.
Discussions have already started with development finance institutions like the World Bank and the African Development Bank, a senior Eskom official told Reuters.
“It’s a lot of money, so what we are putting on the table is to say to funders: South Africa can offer you the biggest point source of carbon emissions reduction in the world,” said Mandy Rambharos, general manager at Eskom’s Just Energy Transition office.
Eskom, which generates more than 90% of the country’s electricity chiefly by burning coal, is looking for around $7 to $8 for every tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent it cuts from its greenhouse gas emissions. Eskom currently emits around 213 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent a year.
The idea is to line up some of the funding before the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow in November. The utility is already looking at “repowering” its Komati coal plant using solar and battery storage and could present the project at COP26 to show it is serious about curbing emissions.