Eskom seeks private partners who want to use its land for power projects

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Eskom CEO André de Ruyter said that collaborations were critical to increase power supply.
Eskom CEO André de Ruyter said that collaborations were critical to increase power supply.
Netwerk24/Deon Raath
  • Eskom says there are opportunities for private investors to partner with the utility to improve energy security.
  • The utility is looking at various option of repurposing its old coal plants, particularly in Mpumalanga, for renewable projects.
  • CEO André de Ruyter says a new "model" is being developed to make it easier for Eskom to form corporate partnerships.

Eskom is looking for corporate partners companies to help solve the country's energy supply crisis, the CEO of the state-owned electricity generator, André de Ruyter, said on Wednesday. He was addressing the Electricity Forum, an event organised by the industry group the Manufacturing Circle.

Eskom, which generates the bulk of its electricity from coal, is shifting its focus to renewable sources of energy, in what is meant to shore up capacity and decarbonise its operations.

De Ruyter pointed out that Eskom has substantial plots of land which could potentially be used to put up renewable energy infrastructure, such as solar and wind farms.

"We are one of the largest landowners in South Africa, in Mpumalanga we own a lot of surface rights to coal mines both currently operating and those that have ceased operations and now need to be rehabilitated.

"We would be able to make use of these land rights so that investors can come and install their capacity and help us solve the problem of electricity shortage for the country."

De Ruyter said that collaborations were critical to increase power supply. However, he added that the policies governing partnerships between public and private companies were cumbersome.

"One of the disadvantages of being a state-owned enterprise is that there are rules governing public-private partnerships. These rules are quite onerous and difficult to engage," he said.

"We are in the process of developing a model that would enable us to give access to investors who are prepared to take risks."

Eskom had previously indicated that it was looking at repurposing some of its old power stations for renewable sites as part of its just energy transition, and the utility is currently piloting an agri-voltaic plan a from its Komati coal plant to allow for dual land use for agriculture and the generation of solar power.

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