Eskom and Agence Française de Développement (AFD) on Thursday signed a R1.5-billion loan agreement to support the electricity utility’s investments in extending and strengthening its power transmission grid along the west coast of South Africa.
This loan constitutes the first tranche of a R6.5-billion multitranche loan facility signed between the two institutions in March 2017.
The transmission system plays a pivotal role in the nationwide provision of electricity, as it delivers electricity from the power stations to distribution centres across South Africa.
This first tranche will be dedicated to financing the Namaqualand Strengthening Phase 2: Juno Gromis project, which aims to strengthen the power network in the Northern Cape province, integrate renewable energy sources and, ultimately, facilitate crossborder transmission.
The project will include the construction of a 282 km 400 kV line between the Juno substation, in the Western Cape, and the Gromis substation, in the Northern Cape, with associated feeder bays and transformer bays.
Construction is expected to start in early 2019.
The loan facility from AFD will support Eskom’s investment policy in strengthening its high-voltage electricity network, to ensure the integration of planned or under construction renewable energy sources.
This is in line with the R91-billion investment plans outlined in Eskom’s Transmission Development Plan (TDP) 2019-2028 for the construction of 6 535 km of high-voltage lines, and the installation of 45 900 MVA of additional transmission capacity.
"This multitranche loan facility will contribute to Eskom’s plans to strengthen and refurbish the transmission infrastructure, while diversifying our funding structures. AFD remains part of a core of longstanding partners to Eskom and we regard the signing of this loan agreement as a formal yet symbolic gesture of a sustainable partnership in aiding Eskom to enhance the security of supply, and stabilise the power systems in South Africa,” Eskom group CE Phakamani Hadebe said in a statement on Thursday.
“This investment will enhance the reliability and security of electricity supply, improve the network capacity for future load growth and will, ultimately, strengthen regional energy trade, which is a very positive development for the region,” commented Ambassador of France to South Africa Christophe Farnaud.