Thursday, March 17, 2011

Big boost for Eskom wind, solar plants

 Johannesburg - The African Development Bank may lend South African power utility Eskom $270m (R1.9bn) to fund its wind and solar power projects, the bank's climate change and energy director said on Tuesday.

Hela Cheikhrouhou said the bank would mediate an additional $100m from the World Bank's Clean Technology Fund.

"The AfDB expects to channel up to $370m loan from its own resources and from the (World Bank's) Clean Technology Fund," she said in an emailed response to questions.

The total $370m would be used to help fund Eskom's proposed Sere wind farm, expected to produce up to 200 MW and the utility's planned 100 MW concentrated solar power plant.

Cheikhrouhou said the bank expects to take the loan to its board for approval by the end of June.

Eskom may get additional loans from development finance institutions such as the KfW, Agence Francaise de Developpement and the European Investment Bank for the two plants, she said.

Cheikhrouhou said the AfDB may also support at least one project under South Africa's renewable energy feed-in-tariff programme and provide credit lines for renewable and energy efficiency projects to local banks.

The AfDB is advising the DRC government on the development of the Inga hydropower project on the Congo River and may support some other energy projects in the region.

"We do expect to approve at least a couple of hundred million dollars in the sub-region on the energy sector in the 2011-13 period
," Cheikhrouhou said.

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