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Eskom may have to take 10,000 megawatts offline over new rules

Eskom estimates it would cost R300 billion to install this technology at power stations that will still be operational after 2030.

FIRE: Eskom's Kendal Power Station is coal-fired and situated in Mpumalanga. Picture: eskom.co.za

JOHANNESBURG – Eskom’s environmental manager said it could take 20 years for the utility to install all the technology needed to meet stricter emissions rules that come into force in April.

According to Reuters, Eskom, which is in the grips of a financial crisis and is struggling to meet demand, is South Africa’s top polluter.

Last year, Eskom applied for the stricter limits for particulate matter, nitrogen oxide and sulphur dioxide to be postponed, suspended or adjusted for some of its coal-fired power plants.

It argued that compliance wasn’t practically feasible and would cost an exorbitant amount.

That angered environmental activists, who blame Eskom and other big polluters, such as Sasol, for causing respiratory diseases.

Environmental manager Deidre Herbst has warned that installing abatement technology on all Eskom’s coal plants that won’t be decommissioned before 2030 is a huge undertaking.

Eskom estimates it would cost R300 billion to install this technology at power stations that will still be operational after 2030.

Herbst warns if the authorities reject Eskom’s latest application and insist that all its coal plants comply with the new limits on time, the utility could have to take 10,000 megawatts offline.

That’s almost a quarter of its nominal capacity.

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