The head of South Africa’s state power utility held discussions with the World Bank as it explores options for transitioning from coal-fired stations to cleaner sources of energy.
Eskom Holdings CEO Andre de Ruyter travelled to the bank’s headquarters for the talks earlier this week. The utility supplies more than 90% of the country’s electricity, the bulk of it from coal.
“The Eskom CEO visit was part of ongoing engagement that the bank carries out with counterparts in country and in Washington DC, including on proposed projects,” though none have been finalized, a spokesperson for the lender said in an emailed response to questions. The utility didn’t immediately reply to an email seeking comment.
The US, UK, France, Germany and the European Union pledged $8.5-billion to help South Africa reduce its reliance on coal at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow in November, a deal that could serve as a prototype for helping other coal-dependent nations decarbonize. Details of how the funds will be used are still under discussion.
The World Bank has supported earlier Eskom projects including granting it a $3.75 billion loan in 2010 for Medupi, a 4 764 MW coal-fired station. It’s also administrating a $250-million loan from the Clean Technology Fund to finance a battery-storage program, the bank said in September.