Eskom ‘in danger of ratings downgrade’
Eskom is in very real danger of a ratings downgrade, with the energy system on knife-edge at present, warns Professor Anton Eberhard, a member of the National Planning commission.
South Africa has been plunged into an energy crisis, which Eberhard says is the worst in 40 years. Outages have been commonplace despite peak power demand falling below 2007 levels and actual electricity use far below forecasts.
Maintenance problems and four-year delays in the construction of Medupi and Kusile, in Limpopo and Mpumalanga respectively, are putting immense strain on the system.
“In the past three years, we’ve lost the equivalent of an entire coal[-fired] power station through deteriorating plant availability. Of 87 coal-generating units, 32 need major surgery and three are in a critical condition,” Eberhard told delegates at the WINDaba, in Cape Town, on Tuesday.
Eskom has conceded in Parliament that it cannot guarantee electricity supply security for at least another five years.
Eberhard said the contribution of renewable energy was very important, particularly as solar prices had fallen 68% within the last three years, with a 42% drop in the price of wind energy.
By: Kim Cloete