Not out of the woods yet, but there is visible progress – Eskom CEO

21st May 2024 By: Irma Venter - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

Not out of the woods yet, but there is visible progress – Eskom CEO

Eskom CFO Calib Cassim and CEO Dan Marokane
Photo by: Creamer Media

On day 55 of no loadshedding in South Africa, newly appointed Eskom boss Dan Marokane warns that the country is “not of out the woods yet, but we have visible progress towards where we want to be, and we should acknowledge that”.

Speaking at Enlit Africa 2024 held in Cape Town on Tuesday – on day 82 in the hot seat – Marokane said a debate anchored around suspicions on whether the improvement in electricity availability might be linked to the next week’s general elections was of little help.

“We should keep on focusing on what we can do better. We are very committed as an Eskom team to do what we can to progress along this path of recovery.”

Marokane added that there were “meaningful” megawatts coming to the grid later this year, including from the Medupi and Kusile coal power stations, as well as the Koeberg nuclear power station.

“This will start building up the capacity and reserves we so badly need to ensure our energy security is improved.”

The Role of Coal
There were concerns around how Eskom’s continued operations of its coal-fired power stations would impact the multibillion-rand pledge government had received in support of its Just Energy Transition Investment Plan (JET IP), in return for a number of decarbonisation commitments, acknowledged Marokane.

He confirmed that Eskom had raised the issue with the various global partners involved in this global funding programme.

“We have engaged everyone; we have explained the rationale and need for a technical course adjustment, and they all understood this.”

He said Eskom would follow up with all the respective parties in June and July, while it would also work to make “visible progress” with regards to its own clean energy projects, to showcase the utility’s commitment to a “blending of technologies”.

Marokane added that an acceleration of the rollout of the unbundled Eskom transmission company, and a relook at the pace of delivery of the proposed Transmission Development Plan, should enable the country to also add more renewables to the currently constrained grid.

“The commitment to the end-goal remains, however, there need to be course adjustments, and that is what we are dealing with at this moment.

“It is important, given our history with regards to loadshedding, that we adjust our plans to improve the reliability and sustainability of the energy availability factor going forward.

“We’ll find a path that allows us to get back to the contributions in terms of emission reductions that we need to have,” said Marokane.