More renewable energy will make electricity more expensive: Eskom CEO

Eskom CEO Brian Molefe has said that the utility was forced to buy solar and wind-generated electricity from independent power producers (IPPs) that it did not need, the Sunday Times reported.

He said the push to add renewable energy sources to the grid was based on the 2011 integrated resource plan, which is outdated.

It was supposed to be revised every two years, but it hasn’t been, said Molefe. A new integrated resource plan is due later this year.

Defending Eskom’s decision to stop signing new power purchase agreements with IPPS, Molefe said that signing more such 20-year deals would further raise Eskom’s cost base.

Molefe said renewable energy sources were unable to guarantee power during Eskom’s peak demand period from 18:00, when it needed about 35,000 megawatts every day.

Molefe said what he really needs is base-load power from nuclear and coal plants.

“If one is really in favour of a green economy, one would actually support nuclear,” he said.

Bright future for renewables

The Sunday Times reported that despite his misgivings, Molefe said he thinks renewable energy has a bright future.

He said improved storage technology will be developed, but for now it feels as though the deployment of renewable power stations is still “very clumsy”.

“I think they are still at the development stage,” he said.

Independent power producers slam Eskom

The South African Independent Power Producers Association (SAIPPA) slammed Eskom’s decision to stop signing new agreements with IPPs, the Sunday Independent reported.

“This gives the impression that Eskom has certain powers outside or over and above the ministers who have not only openly endorsed, but consistently implemented the programme of involving the private sector in power generation,” said SAIPPA.

“The action taken by Eskom is fraught with risks of further eroding the existing level of confidence.”

The full reports are available in the Sunday Times and Sunday Independent of 24 July 2016.

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More renewable energy will make electricity more expensive: Eskom CEO