South Africa is reportedly seeking funding of ZAR400bn ($27.3bn) to set up an electricity infrastructure as it plans to shift away from coal-based power generation.

Reuters reported that the nation would require funding of more than ZAR180bn to set up clean power generation assets and ZAR120bn for transmission equipment.

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It also plans to build transformers, distribution technology and substations using funding from developed countries and financial institutions.

In a presentation, South Africa Presidency official Rudi Dicks said that the country is only seeking enough money to build 7GW of renewable power capacity.

This capacity would come from sources such as natural gas, wind and solar, which would replace the decommissioned coal units.

Dicks’ presentation also said that the country needed low-cost loans and grants to expand its transmission grid, strengthen its distribution corridors and set up a fund to expedite economic diversification in coal-intensive areas.

Dicks said: “We are prepared to make a substantial carbon reduction, but this must be financed by developed countries on concessional terms.”

At present, 80% of South Africa’s electricity requirements are met by burning coal.

The South African government has set an emissions reduction target and expressed its intent last month to climate envoys from France, the US, Germany and the UK.

It said that ‘huge’ financial support would be required to shift away from coal.

The country’s electricity utility, Eskom, also plans to move away from coal and is seeking up to ZAR180bn in funding from lenders worldwide.

In August, Eskom announced plans to reduce its coal-fired power capacity from 20GW to 12GW by closing power plants over the next decade. This would lead to a 30% reduction in the company’s total capacity.

Eskom plans to close its Komati power station in Mpumalanga by next October and repower it with solar photovoltaic power and 244MWh of battery storage.