French partners to help Eskom

French partners to help Eskom

Eskom and the Agence Française de Développement, the French development agency, on Monday signed a €150 million credit facility agreement to strengthen the electricity grid in more remote parts of the country.

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The facility, which is for 25 years including a five-year grace period, will finance investments for grid strengthening, refurbishment, reliability improvements, minor reticulations, split metering and upstream grid reinforcement to cater for renewable energy in KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape and Limpopo.

A statement from Eskom said it had also concluded a €450 000 deal with Électricité de France (EDF) and AFD, with the funding to be provided by AFD in the form of a grant. The funds will finance a knowledge exchange programme with EDF on areas ranging from distribution to renewable energy integration and ways to improve system efficiency and reliability.

AFD has previously supported Eskom with loans of €100 million each for the construction of the 100 MW Sere Wind Farm and the concentrating solar power (CSP) plant. Eskom chief executive Brian Molefe said: “Eskom has enjoyed a fruitful relationship with the Agence Francaise de Developpement and the agreements further cement this relationship.

“Both agreements will contribute towards areas of development and the strengthening of our distribution networks in some of the most remote and impoverished parts of our country,” he added.

AFD Regional Director Martha Stein-Sochas said: “This programme will greatly contribute to the reduction of the regional inequalities in access to electricity in South Africa, and contribute to the objective of the government towards universal electricity access by 2025.”

EDF South Africa Managing Director Fawzi Issa said: “EDF is deeply convinced that this collaboration based on know-how sharing and providing specific technical support will benefit both companies and the reliability of South African electricity distribution networks.”

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