South Africa - Eskom promises cleaner energy

100 Megawatt wind farm planned

ESKOM announced last week that it plans to add clean energy sources such as nuclear, wind, solar and hydro into the energy mix by 2025. The plan is to increase renewable energy production to 1600MW, or 2% of the total generating capacity. The energy would mostly be generated from solar, wind, ocean current and biomass.

Nuclear power plants, which will contribute 20000MW to the national grid by 2025, do not form part of the renewable sources. Environmental lobby group Earthlife Africa said on Friday that Eskom's target of 2% was "scandalously irresponsible". The organisation said Eskom was way below government's target of producing 5% of electricity from renewable sources by 2013. Earthlife Africa's project co-ordinator for sustainable energy and climate change, Richard Worthington, said Earthlife Africa would like to see at least 15% of SA's electricity coming from renewable sources by 2020.

Speaking at the release of Eskom's 2006-07 financial results last week, Eskom CEO Jacob Maroga said although no restrictions apply to the parastatal's greenhouse gas emissions, the company had a duty to manage environmental impact and to combat climate change.

"Given the international climate change imperatives, we plan to reduce the coal component of our optimised portfolio to 70% (from 88%) by 2025," said Maroga. "The primary contribution to achieving this will be through nuclear energy." Nuclear energy output would increase to about 20000 MW by 2025. Maroga said the success of the Klipheuwel pilot wind farm, which generated 12 GWh of electricity between 2003 and 2006, had encouraged the utility to plan building a new 100MW wind facility and to investigate other renewable energy sources.
Edited by Trevor Sievert, Online Editorial Journalist
wind energy, wind farm, renewable energy, wind power, wind turbine, rotorblade, offshore, onshore

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