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By Citizen Reporter


Komati power station officially shutdown after operating for decades

Eskom has transferred the majority of Komati employees from the power station to other power stations and areas of the business

After serving South Africa since 1961, the coal-fired Komati Power Station in Mpumalanga has reached the end of its operating life and was shut down as a coal-fired power station yesterday at noon.

“Unit 9, the last of nine that were built, was commissioned in March 1966,” Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha said.

“Other units were shut down as they reached the end of their operating life, a legislated requirement.”

No impact on country’s power supply

The shutting down will not have a significant impact on the national electricity grid as unit 9 only contributed 121MW.

No employees lost their jobs

Mantshantsha said Eskom has transferred the majority of Komati employees from the power station to other power stations and areas of the business. No Eskom employees would lose their jobs as a result of the closure.

“The decommissioning has followed a process which comprised undertaking a socioeconomic impact study. Eskom has held extensive engagements with the employees, labour unions, the community and stakeholders and communicated the requirement to shut down the plant timeously and clearly,” said Mantshantsha.

Komati was one of the power stations mothballed due to the country’s excess generation capacity in the early 1980s, the age of the station and the high maintenance costs. Unit 9 was mothballed in 1989.

Refurbishment started 200

A decision was made to return Komati to service, with the refurbishment commencing on 1 August, 2006. Unit 9 was handed over to the generation division on 24 December.

It is not the end for Komati, however.

Future plans

“Eskom has developed a comprehensive Just Energy Transition (JET) Strategy which places equal importance on the ‘transition to lower carbon technologies,’ and the ability to do so in a manner that is ‘just’ and sustainable. The remaining employees will take part in the Komati Repowering and Repurposing project,” Mantshantsha said.

“The Komati Repowering and Repurposing project is one of the largest coal-fired power plant decommissioning, repowering and repurposing projects globally and will serve as a global reference on how to transition fossil-fuel assets,” Mantshantsha added.

The power plant will be converted into a renewable generation site with 150MW of solar, 70MW of wind and 150MW of storage batteries.

“The development of the Komati Training Facility to facilitate the reskilling, retraining, and upskilling of Eskom employees and members of the community is underway,” said Mantshantsha.

“Eskom has signed a partnership agreement with the South African Renewable Energy Technology Centre (SARETEC) of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, and the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAPP) to develop the training facility.”

Funding has already been received from one of the developmental finance institutions (DFIs) and Eskom will make an official announcement in due course, Mantshantsha said.

ALSO READ: ‘Komati shutdown won’t affect electricity grid’ – Eskom

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