09/03/2017 08:51 SAST | Updated 09/03/2017 12:12 SAST

Going Green Will Cost Eskom

Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown has warned of job losses should coal power plants be shut down.

Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg via Getty Images

While Eskom has committed to moving towards green energy, Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown has warned that the process will result in job losses.

The Times reported on Thursday that Brown said 6,000 jobs could be lost should Eskom shut down its four aging coal power stations. Brown was reportedly briefing parliament's portfolio committee on public enterprises.

Brown also reportedly said that its plans to buy power from independent power producers could "crash the Eskom balance sheet" over the next two decades.

This was because Eskom would pay these producers more.

Brown said the move to greener energy would have to be carefully managed to make sure that workers were reskilled.

She reportedly said that there were about 1,500 people working at each coal plant, and that they would lose their jobs if they were not reskilled. And Eskom's environmental compliance obligations would cost R340 billion, which could increase the price of electricity, the portfolio committee heard.

According to the paper, Brown was asked why the country needed nuclear energy if the power utility was worried about excess power generation. She reportedly said that there would be an excess of power until 2025 and thereafter, "the economy will pick up and we will need more".