South Africa’s government will need another two to three months to complete an energy transition implementation plan, further delaying the flow of funds from an $8.5 billion climate finance agreement with some of the world’s richest countries.
(Bloomberg) — South Africa’s government will need another two to three months to complete an energy transition implementation plan, further delaying the flow of funds from an $8.5 billion climate finance agreement with some of the world’s richest countries.
More work needs to be done on how to re-skill workers from coal-dependent communities as coal-fired plants gradually close down, said Joanne Yawitch, head of the project management unit for the pact within the South African presidency.
Yawitch, who spoke at a Presidential Climate Commission event in Johannesburg on Tuesday, said a government decision that state utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. would be limited in its ability to take on further loans and government debt guarantees had complicated matters.
“There are significant challenges on loan finance,” she said. That moratorium “impacts on what was in the investment plan,” she said.
France, Germany, the US, UK and European Union offered the finance to help South Africa transition away from coal, which is currently the source of more than 80% of South Africa’s power. The so-called Just Energy Transition Partnership, a prototype for similar agreements with Indonesia and Vietnam, has been beset by political infighting and lobbying from businesses that profit from the use of coal.
The government had earlier said the implementation plan would be ready in March and later in August.
Under the work done so far the Presidential Climate Commission has recommended that the government’s Development Bank of Southern Africa be appointed to run the Just Transition Financing Mechanism. The DBSA would oversee the allocation of funds to energy transition projects.
An initial investment plan drawn up by the commission estimated that South Africa will need 1.5 trillion rand ($79 billion) over five years to begin transitioning its economy away from coal.
(Updates with recommendation in second last paragraph)
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