Wednesday, 15 December 2021

Johannesburg: Eskom says its ability to supply electricity will be significantly impacted if a Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment (DFFE) decision to enforce air quality compliance standards is implemented immediately.

The standards – called the Minimum Emission Standard (MES) – legally bind the power utility to immediately scale down the carbon emissions polluted by its coal-fired power stations.

Eskom had applied for its power stations to be temporarily exempted from the MES.

“Eskom’s request for postponements at Matla, Duvha, Matimba, Medupi and Lethabo [power stations] were declined completely. Postponement applications for Majuba, Tutuka, Kendal, and Kriel were partially granted. Eskom has reviewed the decisions and believes they will have a very significant impact on Eskom’s ability to provide electricity.

“If implemented, the decision will result in an immediate shutting down of 16 000MW of installed coal fired capacity. This would have a significant negative impact on the economy and employment, particularly in Mpumalanga and Lephalale, and delay the country’s plans for a just energy transition toward a cleaner electricity supply,” Eskom said on Wednesday.

The power utility said it is engaging the DFFE, the Public Enterprises Department and the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy on the matter.

“Eskom is committed to its mandate to supply stable electricity in an efficient and sustainable manner and enable economic growth.  We aim to do this in an environmentally responsible manner that takes into consideration the need to reduce local air pollution and is in line with the country’s climate change commitments”.