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South Africa: No investors for Eskom solar plant

Eskom is still struggling to secure funding for its 100 megawatt solar power demonstration plant, but a new proposal will be presented to the utility's board in the next few weeks to overcome this.
Steve Lennon, an Eskom executive, said yesterday: "We are having difficulty getting funding … as potential partners want a high return, which we cannot offer."

Eskom wanted the R5 billion demonstration plant in the Northern Cape to be operating by 2014. The commercial plant could be built a year later.

Eskom would contribute R3 billion to the project and the balance would be sourced through other funding.

The board would in the next few weeks consider a new proposal which would include a package of partners, including a technology partner.

Cornelis van der Waal, the energy industry manager at growth consultancy Frost & Sullivan, said Eskom's difficulty in getting funding was "interesting" as there was a healthy appetite from investors internationally for renewable energy projects.

Eskom plans to spend R343 billion in the next five years on new generation and transmission infrastructure.

Once Eskom had clarity on the electricity price hike it had requested from the National Energy Regulator of SA, it would have a better idea of how much funding it would be able to raise, said Van der Waal.

Additional information:
News date: 25/04/2008

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Comments and remarks to Wim Jonker Klunne

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