Omstridt lån til kulkraftværk i Sydafrika

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Verdensbanken yder lån til kulkraftværk i Sydafrika på trods af store landes modstand.

The World Bank has granted South Africa a $3.75 billion (knap 21 milliarder d. kr.) loan to help the country improve its energy supply and finance coal-fired power plant.

The US, the Netherlands and Britain said they abstained from supporting the loan because of environmental and other concerns about the project.

The Bank said in a statement that the loan, which was approved by its executive board on Thursday, will also finance some of the biggest solar and wind power plants in the developing world.

The Bank said the loan is aimed at helping South Africa achieve a reliable power supply, to export electricity to neighboring countries and to avoid the power shortages in South Africa tthat led to blackouts in 2008.

The 4,800 megawatt coal-powered plant would be run by the state-owned Eskom electricity utility and use for the first time on the African continent the same proven, supercritical technology that major industrialized nations employ in similar plants.

Experts say that South Africa desperately needs more generating capacity.

South Africa’s dependence on overseas funding became more acute in 2010 when Eskom failed to persuade the regulator to agree a 35 percent rise in electricity prices.

The state company had to settle for a 25 percent increase and was therefore required to raise more money from other sources.