Eskom to allow customers to choose power exclusively from renewables

South African state-owned utility Eskom has announced a pilot programme which will allow companies connected to its grid to use electricity produced exclusively from renewable sources.

The two-year programme comes after Eskom unveiled plans to invest US$7.2 billion in renewable energy over the next nine years, as South Africa’s begins its gradual transition away from coal, which currently accounts for over 70% of the country’s electricity usage.

However, the new mechanism will enable South African businesses to meet their clean energy commitments via Eskom’s 24-hour supply of renewable energy for their facilities.

“The renewable energy tariff is designed to provide Eskom’s customers with a cost-effective and flexible option to consume renewable energy,” said the head of Eskom’s distribution division, Monde Bala.

“It also allows you to buy electricity flexibly, conveniently and at short notice when you move your facilities. It will be available to Eskom customers with current electricity accounts.”

All customers participating in the pilot will be able to choose a percentage of their current electricity consumption to be green. The renewable energy tariff can also supplement third-party or home-grown renewable electricity to help customers meet their clean energy target.

While Eskom is South Africa’s single largest polluter due to its multiple coal-fired power stations, the utility operates a number of renewable energy plants – mostly hydroelectric and pumped storage – with the $7.2 billion investment set aside for solar and wind developments.