Monday, March 4

Eskom Transition Head Quits at Key Time in Climate Aid Talks

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Mandy Rambharos, head of Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd.’s energy transition department, has resigned just as negotiations with some of the world’s richest nations to secure $8.5 billion in climate finance for South Africa and its state power utility become ever more complex.

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Her resignation comes ahead of the COP27 international climate summit in Egypt in November. At the meeting, South Africa and its funding partners — the US, UK, Germany, France and European Union — are aiming to make an announcement on the program, announced at the COP26 summit in Glasgow in 2021.

The bulk of the finance is targeted at helping Eskom close down some of its older, coal-fired power plants and repurpose them to produce cleaner energy as part of a so-called “just energy transition.”

Investments may also be targeted at expanding South Africa’s national power grid, also run by Eskom, so that more renewable power facilities can be connected to it.

The “just energy transition is an Eskom program and proceeds as planned,” Eskom spokesman Sikonathi Mantshantsha said Saturday in a response to a query.

Eskom initiated the talks over the finance before they were taken over by the South African government last year.

(Updates with details from second paragraph.)