Eskom has no plans to increase renewable energy capacity, says Gordhan

Pravin Gordhan

Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan says Eskom has no plans to increase its renewable energy capacity.

In a written reply to a parliamentary question, Gordhan says currently, Eskom has a total installed renewable energy capacity of 161 megawatts, sourced from one wind farm and four hydroelectric stations.

The power utility has had to introduce load shedding over the past two weeks, as it battles to balance regular maintenance at its plants with diesel and water shortages.

Gordhan says no determinations in terms of Section 34 of the Electricity Regulation Act has been made by the energy minister for Eskom to be able to build new renewable plants.

On its website, Eskom says the government has introduced a target for the introduction of renewable energy which equates to cumulative 10,000-gigawatt-hours of energy.

The renewable energy debate has prompted the National Union of Mineworkers to protest against an agreement signed by the Department of Energy and private companies, which will see solar and wind power plants being built throughout the country, including in rural Mpumalanga, where five Eskom coal power stations are based.

The unions say this will lead to thousands of job losses in the coal mining sector.

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