The National Treasury revealed that 17 of Eskom’s units are non-compliant with average monthly emission limits, threatening their continued operation.
For years, Eskom has been under fire for its air pollution, with many organisations warning of severe implications if it was set to continue.
In 2021, the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) showed that Eskom became the world’s largest emitter of health-harming sulfur dioxide.
More recently, CREA said air pollution from Eskom’s coal-fired power plants risks killing 79,500 people from 2025 until they are due to be shut down.
The study highlighted that many of Eskom’s coal-fired power plants breach South African emission standards.
The Centre for Environmental Rights (CER) said if Eskom is allowed to continue as is, emissions from the company’s fleet will cost thousands of lives.
Despite a legal victory that ordered the government to clamp down on pollution by Eskom and Sasol, little has changed.
On Tuesday, the National Treasury told Parliament’s Standing Committee on Appropriations that Eskom’s pollution is worsening.
“Eskom’s relative particulate emissions performance has deteriorated further to 1.01 kg/MWh sent out,” it said.
It is substantially worse than the target and a significant increase in emissions from June 2022, when Eskom sent out 0.40 kg/MWh.
“This is significantly worse than the performance recorded before implementing emission upgrades at stations like Duvha, Matta, Matimba and Lethabo,” the National Treasury said.
Kendal continues to contribute significantly to the poor performance, with the station contributing half of the total emitted particulate matter within Generation.
It added that by March 2023, 17 of Eskom’s units were operating in non-compliance with average monthly emission limits.
National Treasury said Eskom’s inability to meet emissions targets threatens the continued operation of its non-compliant power stations.