The World Bank’s (WB) Clean Technology Fund (CTF) is expected to take a final decision on a $350 million (R2.6 billion) loan for South Africa’s power utility Eskom no later than June, a minister said on today.
State-owned Eskom, which is spending billions of dollars to build and upgrade existing coal-fired power plants, wants to diversify the energy mix of Africa’s largest economy towards cleaner sources such as solar and wind.
Eskom submitted a $350-million loan application to the World Bank, the African Development Bank and other co-financiers – through the CTF – to finance a 100 megawatt concentrated solar power plant and a separate 100 MW wind power plant.
“The CTF appraisal team was in South Africa (between) February 7 and February 12 2011 and the final outcome is expected in June 2011 at the very latest,” Sibusiso Ndebele, transport minister and chairman of government’s infrastructure development cluster, told a media briefing.
South Africa could produce its first solar power from a mooted solar park by 2012, and depending on investor appetite, eventually supplying 5,000 MW of power as a viable and cost-effective alternative to energy from coal.
South Africa currently gets about 90-95% of its electricity from coal-fired plants.