Skip to Content

Centre for Environmental Rights – Advancing Environmental Rights in South Africa

Support Us Subscribe Search

Pollution & Climate Change

Promote environmental justice, ensure compliance, and strengthen civil society participation.


Eskom’s latest atmospheric emission licences (AELs)

Eskom’s pre-feasibility study for expanding the lifespans of Eskom coal-fired power stations

On 3 October 2016, the CER submitted a PAIA request to Eskom for records relating to its pre-feasibility study for expanding the lifespans of its coal-fired power stations. In a letter dated 21 November 2016, Eskom requested legal advice from the Capital Group on whether or not it may sever some of the information requested by the CER. On 15 February 2017, Eskom partially granted the CER’s request.

The CER obtained the following documents from Eskom pursuant to its request:

Eskom’s emission reduction plans and decommissioning plans

On 25 April 2016, the CER, on behalf of groundWork, Earthlife Africa Johannesburg (ELA), the Highveld Environmental Justice Network (HEJN), and the Vaal Environmental Justice Alliance addressed a letter to Eskom in terms of which it sought copies of the latest emission reduction plans, compliance roadmaps, and decommissioning schedule and plans for all 15 of Eskom’s coal-fired power stations.  On 12 May 2016, Eskom required the CER to apply for access to these document in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act – which it duly did. Since then, Eskom has asked for several extensions to provide the records, which, to date, have not been received. Eskom’s failure to make a decision in relation to the CER’s PAIA request had the result that the request was deemed to be refused. The CER appealed this refusal.The appeal was not decided. On 2 December 2016, Eskom provided the CER with the records:

On 14 May 2020 the CER received an affirmation and formal response letter from Eskom in response to our February 2020 PAIA Request in relation to compliance enforcement action at Kendal coal fired power plant. As part of this response, Eskom has provided a Board-approved 18 month maintenance plan for its fleet of power stations. The affirmation also provides Eskom’s updated decommissioning schedule for its stations and units

Annual emission reports from Eskom

Minimum Emission Standard (MES) and Atmospheric Emission Licence (AEL) requirements, Monthly Emission Reports (MER), decommissioning, retrofits and employment figures

On 12 July 2017, the Centre submitted an application in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act, 2000 to Eskom for copies of all records and board meeting minutes relating, inter alia, to: Eskom’s compliance with the Minimum Emission Standards (MES) and Atmospheric Emission Licence (AEL) requirements; the capital expenditure required for Eskom’s compliance with the MES/AEL; the latest decommissioning schedule for all 15 power stations and various employment figures for each of Eskom’s coal-fired power stations.

On 6 October 2017, Eskom partially granted the Centre access to the above items and made the following information available:

Eskom in its decision of 6 October 2017 denied the Centre access to, inter alia, information relating to MES and AEL compliance – particularly the power stations’ Monthly Emission Reports (MER) to the licensing authority.  The CER appealed this decision on 12 December 2017 and was subsequently granted access to the MERs from January 2016 to December 2017 for the following power stations:

  • Arnot
  • Acacia
  • Ankerlig
  • Camden
  • Duvha
  • Grootvlei
  • Gourikwa
  • Hendrina
  • Kendal
  • Komati
  • Kriel
  • Lethabo
  • Majuba
  • Medupi
  • Tutuka

The MERs are in our possession and will be made available to you upon request.

Eskom Health Studies

In response to a Promotion of Access to Information Act, 2000 application by the Centre to Eskom for:”copies of all research studies and reports conducted by or for Eskom since 1990 on the impacts of human health of the atmospheric emissions from Eskom’s coal-fired power stations and the costs associated with those health impacts, including but not limited to studies and reports prepared by Infotox (Pty) Ltd and Airshed Planning Professionals (Pty) Ltd”,

Eskom made two 2006 health studies it had commissioned available:

In making the reports available, Eskom advised: “after representation receive from a third party, we have decided to sever any mention made of the third party as they had no chance to comment on the findings in the report and they believe this could cause harm to their commercial and financial interest. This, as provided for, in terms of Section 36(1).”

Eskom Economic Impact Assessments