South Africa’s Lights Flicker as Its Electric Utility Ponders a Future Without Carbon

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Eskom’s six-unit coal-fired Medupi power plant, which has taken more than a decade to build and is undergoing boiler modifications to fix engineering errors.

A legacy of deferred maintenance, mismanagement, and massive debt for underperforming power plants built by South African utility Eskom may be tough to overcome

04 Aug 2020

By David Wagman

Optimists look to the future of Eskom, South Africa’s electric utility, and see a glass half full. Pessimists see a glass nearly empty.

The optimists look to what they say is a rare opportunity for a national utility to fully embrace renewable energy resources. In so doing, the power provider could decarbonize its fleet of electric generating plants as well as Africa’s largest economy. Tens of thousands of green energy jobs could be created and gigawatts of renewable generating resources could be added each year for the next 10 or 20 years.

The pessimists—some might call them realists—point to a utility buckling under a massive debt load, singed by a legacy of government cronyism, disappointed by the performance problems of two of the world’s newest and biggest coal-fired power plants, and swamped beneath a backlog of deferred maintenance projects.

Read more at: https://spectrum.ieee.org/energywise/energy/renewables/south-africas-lights-flicker-as-its-electric-utility-ponders-a-future-without-carbon

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