Local power utility: Eskom

As far as the local power utility, Eskom, are concerned they consist of a fleet of thirteen (13) coal fired power stations contributing to approximately 36000MW, a nuclear power plant, four (4) gas or petroleum power stations, two (2) hydro plants and two (2) pump storage facility, collectively contributing to around 41000MW of power generation capacity [Eskom, 2012; DoE, 2013]. The fleet dominated by the coal fired power plants, has contributed to making South Africa one of the largest carbon emitters amongst the developing nations [Alton et al, 2013; DBSA 2012; DoE, 2013; Odeku, 2013; Winkler, 2007]. Coal fired plants are expected to remain the dominant source for electricity generation, at least till 2030 [DoE, 2013; StatsSA, 2012], when the new coal fired generation plants, Kusile and Medupi are in operation [Eskom, 2015], contributing collectively to 9800MW of electricity, after which the old coal fired plants can be decommissioned, reducing the generation capacity by approximately 13000MW [DoE, 2013; Eskom, 2015c].

Figure: Commissioning schedule for existing plants

Due to the extensive availability and relatively low cost of coal – if compared to other sources for energy – it is still remains a primary resource of energy on a global level [EIA, 2013; Eskom, 2013; Eskom 2014d], where a large scale use and trade of coal active in the South African economy due to its abundance and low cost by international standards [StatsSA, 2012], although Eskom has proved to make other sources of power generation feasible due to the capital expenditure associated with the construction of Kusile and Medupi power stations, with the extent of this claim not fully known.

In 2004, 87.5% of South Africa’s energy supply was based on fossil fuels, mainly coal and oil. Only 9.5% were from renewable resources, mainly biomass and hydro energy [DME, 2006].

Figure: Eskom value chain (2012) [Eskom, 2012]


Alton, T., Arndt, C., Davies, R., Hartley, F., Makrelov, K., Thurlow, J., & Ubogu, D. (2013) ‘Introducting Carbon Taxes n South Africa’, Applied Energy, 116:344-354

Development Bank of Southern Africa (2012) Infrastructure Barometer 2012: Progress in Infrastructure Development Since Democracy, Development Planning Division, Development Bank of South Africa, South Africa.

Department of Minerals and Energy (2006), ‘Digest of South African Energy Statistics 2006’, Pretoria, 2006.

Department of Energy (2013) Integrated Resource Plan for Electricity 2010-2030: Updated Report November 2013, Department of Energy, Pretoria

Eskom (2012) Eskom Annual Report

Eskom (2013)

Eskom (2014d)

Eskom (2015)

Eskom (2015c) ‘Strategic Grid Plan’

EIA (2013)

Odeku, K. (2013) ‘Acting Responsibility and Promotion Sustainability: Eskom Strategic Initiatives to Reduce Carbon Dioxide Emissions’, Journal of Human Ecology, 43(3): 237-248

Statistics South Africa (2012)

Winkler, H. (2007) ‘Energy Policies for Sustainable Development in South Africa’, Energy for Sustainable Development, 11(1): 26-34