Carol Paton Writer at Large

Eskom should curtail the construction of Kusile and retire several of its old coal-fired power stations early to save itself billions and shield consumers from excessive energy costs, a new study suggests. The study, by consultancy Meridian Economics, also says that if SA is to pursue a least-cost path for energy generation in the future, it does not need a gas, coal or nuclear procurement programme but should accelerate the installation of more renewable energy, the price of which is falling. The release of the Meridian study at Wednesday’s Windaba conference in Cape Town came as internal Eskom documents on Monday revealed the extent of Eskom’s financial problems, and that by the end of January, the company will be R5bn in the red and unable to pay suppliers or salaries. Eskom also faces an excess of supply – equal to at least the size of the entire Medupi plant – in the foreseeable future. Meridian MD Grove Steyn said that Eskom’s tariffs, which are the highest in SA’s history, we...

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