Eskom

Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd

Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd (Eskom), established in 1923, is the largest producer of electricity in Africa. Our mandate is to provide a stable electricity supply in a sustainable and efficient manner, to assist in lowering the cost of doing business in South Africa and to enable economic growth. Eskom is a major driver of the economy, not only through its role as the primary provider of electricity, but also by the economic stimulus provided through its operations and capital expenditure. Eskom provides more than 90% of all electricity in South Africa, a critical input to most major industries. Eskom has been the primary electricity producer, transmitter and distributor in South Africa over the past 95 years.

Not only is Eskom a key enabler of economic growth and development, but it also has an impact on the environment and society. Eskom has numerous positive environmental impacts, such as reduced indoor air pollution through household electrification. However, as most of Eskom’s electricity is generated by the burning of our readily available coal supplies, Eskom’s operations do have a negative impact on the environment, including air quality.

strommast, pylon, electric tower
sunset, pinwheel, wind energy

Eskom's Air Quality Impact

Four major pollutants in the form of emissions are produced when coal is burnt to produce electricity: particulate matter (PM), carbon dioxide (CO2), sulphur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx). To reduce its emission and to comply with legal requirements, Eskom installs emission reduction technologies at its power stations. Some of ‘Eskom’s already existing abatement technologies include Fabric Filter Bags or Electrostatic Precipitators to reduce PM, low NOx burners to reduce NOx as well as Flue Gas Desulphurisation to reduce SO2 from the stacks.  Eskom has been implementing pollution reduction technology since the early 1980s, successfully reducing particulate matter emissions by more than 80%. However, more recently, the performance of particulate emissions has declined due to various challenges.

Eskom is pursuing a multi-pronged approach to enhance and continue reducing its emissions and improve ambient air quality. This includes implementing the Eskom Emissions Reduction Plan, improving operational and maintenance practices, shutting down older stations and increasing the use of the newer, lower-emitting stations and the renewable Independent Power Producers, as well as the implementation of air quality offsets. These activities will contribute to a substantial reduction in Eskom’s and South Africa’s emissions over time. It is projected that our relative PM emissions will reduce by 51% by 2030, SO2 by 22% and NOx by 27%, compared to a 2020 baseline. The estimated reduction is based on units running at the allowable emission limit values and changes following an upgrade or retrofit, or unit shutdown. By 2039, ‘Eskom’s relative PM emissions are expected to reduce by 70%, SO2 by 54% and NOx by 56%.

Eskom aims to ensure that emissions are managed transparently and accurately reported to stakeholders. Details on our emissions are included in the company’s annual integrated report available on the website.  https://www.eskom.co.za/IR2020/Pages/default.aspx

Eskom has also established a comprehensive network of ambient air quality monitoring stations in the areas in which it operates

An introduction to emission management at Eskom’s coal-fired power stations:

Eskom's Air Quality Offsets initiative

Eskom has been instrumental in supporting the government’s objective of advancing electrification in South Africa. At the start of the electrification programme in 1991, only approximately 34% of households had access to electricity. Since then, Eskom has helped to electrify approximately five million homes, resulting in 90% of South African households having electricity access by the end of the 2018 financial year.

However, many people in South Africa still burn solid fuels for the purposes of heating and cooking. Indoor air pollution caused by low-level burning is a major problem, with many South African households exposed to smoke, which directly affects their health.  Eskom has initiated a domestic fuel burning emission reduction programme, known as Masibambisane. This air quality offset programme targets low-income communities and includes a ceiling retrofit, thermal insulation retrofits, exchanging coal/wood-burning stoves for low emission stoves or the provision of LPG heaters/stoves and cylinders. 

For more information on Masibambisane, visit: https://www.eskom.co.za/AirQuality/Pages/default.aspx

Eskom's Just Energy Transition

The changing energy landscape globally and domestically plays an important role in Eskom’s plans for medium to long term sustainability. Given South Africa’s vulnerability to climate change and its commitment to the Paris Agreement and the United Nations’ SDGs, our approach is to address climate change holistically in a ‘just’ manner. We are developing a Just Energy Transition (JET) strategy geared towards improving our finances, the society and the environment.

 Our focus is:

  • Our commitment to a lower-carbon future
  • How repurposing and renewables plans contribute to meeting this goal
  • The impact of this on all environmental goals – air quality, carbon emissions and water, with no compromise on environmental integrity
  • The impact of this on socio-economic factors
  • Medium- to long-term technology requirements and the associated financing and policy enablers
  • How to attract and sustain financing for initiatives.

Contact us

Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd (2002/015527/30)

Head office physical address: 

Megawatt Park, 2 Maxwell Drive, Sunninghill, Sandton, 2157

Eskoms Environmental Manager, Deidre Herbst: HerbstDL@eskom.co.za

Eskoms Air Quality Centre of Excellence Manager, Bryan McCourt: McCourBA@eskom.co.za

Eskom head office: 011 800 8111

Website: www.eskom.co.za

Facebook: EskomSouthAfrica

Twitter: Eskom_SA