Selling more electricity to rest of Southern Africa may rescue Eskom
Cross-border trade can alleviate regional shortages, profit Eskom, relieve local consumers and aid renewables, write Jason Mann and Victoria Barr
Recent reports have highlighted the many challenges facing Eskom, including, most pressingly, difficulties in continuing to service its debt. Underlying Eskom’s liquidity issues are a number of structural problems with the electricity sector in SA, of which we want to highlight three: electricity generation is carbon intensive, increasingly inefficient and the supply deficit that led to load shedding a few years ago has been replaced by an excess of generating capacity. The good news is that two of these problems could be mitigated by greater electricity exports to SA’s neighbours. However, significant increases in exports will require improved interconnection and transmission infrastructure in the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) region. SA ranked 105 out of 125 countries in the World Energy Council’s 2016 environmental sustainability index, driven by the country’s continued dependence on coal for electricity generation. Investment in new large coal-fired power plants ...