Eskom CEO Highlights Advances, Cautions on Challenges Ahead

Marokane Signals Progress Despite Ongoing Energy Security Challenges

Dan Marokane, the newly appointed CEO of Eskom, South Africa’s primary electric utility, recently spoke at the Enlit Africa 2024 conference in Cape Town, highlighting the ongoing challenges and significant progress in the country’s energy sector. Despite achieving 55 days without loadshedding, Marokane emphasized that South Africa is “not out of the woods yet” but acknowledged the substantial advancements made under his 82-day tenure.

Addressing the audience on day 82 in his role, Marokane stressed that while the absence of loadshedding was a notable improvement, linking this progress to the upcoming general elections was unproductive. Instead, he urged continued focus on operational enhancements and strategic initiatives aimed at ensuring energy security and sustainability.

Marokane detailed significant developments expected later in the year, including the integration of additional megawatts from key projects like the Medupi and Kusile coal power stations, and the Koeberg nuclear power station. These projects are critical for building up the capacity and reserves necessary to stabilize the national grid and reduce the reliance on loadshedding.

The issue of Eskom’s coal-powered stations was also addressed, particularly in the context of the multibillion-rand pledge received as part of the government’s Just Energy Transition Investment Plan (JET IP). This plan, aimed at reducing carbon emissions, has been somewhat contentious given the utility’s current dependence on coal. Marokane reassured stakeholders that Eskom had communicated with global partners involved in the funding program, explaining the need for adjustments in their approach and gaining understanding for the balancing act required to manage both coal and clean energy sources.

Looking ahead, Marokane announced plans to expedite the rollout of the unbundled Eskom transmission company and to reassess the pace of the proposed Transmission Development Plan. This strategic shift is designed to enhance the grid’s capacity for renewable energy integration, reflecting Eskom’s commitment to diversifying its energy mix.

In closing, the Eskom CEO reaffirmed the utility’s commitment to improving the reliability and sustainability of South Africa’s energy supply. Acknowledging past difficulties with loadshedding, Marokane expressed confidence in finding a path forward that aligns with both national energy needs and global environmental commitments.

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