Eskom CEO Holds Talks on Potential Projects With World Bank

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(Bloomberg) — 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 SOC Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Andre de Ruyter traveled to the bank’s headquarters for the talks earlier this week. The power utility supplies more than 90% of the country’s electricity, the bulk of it from coal. 

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“The Eskom CEO visit was part of ongoing engagement that the bank carries out with counterparts in country and in Washington D.C., including on proposed projects,” though none have been finalized, a spokesperson for the lender said in an emailed response to questions.

De Ruyter was expected to “meet the World Bank and have discussions about funding,” the energy transition and related projects the utility is working on, Eskom spokesman Sikonathi Mantshantsha said. No further details were provided. 

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The U.S., U.K., 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 megawatt 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.      

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