Avatar photo

By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist


‘Komati shutdown won’t affect electricity grid’ – Eskom

Eskom said after serving South Africa since 1961, the Komati Power Station reached the end of its operating life and was shut down on Monday


Embattled state-owned entity Eskom has assured South Africans that the shutting down of coal-fired Komati Power Station in Mpumalanga will not have a significant impact on the national electricity grid as the remaining unit was only contributing 121MW.

The parastatal on Monday announced that after serving South Africa since 1961, the Komati Power Station reached the end of its operating life and was shut down from midday on Monday.

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

Mantshantsha said Komati is one of the power stations that were previously 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 then mothballed in 1989. Other units were shut down over the years as they reached the end of their operating life, a legislated requirement.”

ALSO READ: EFF: Eskom board member ‘must have drunk de Ruyter’s Kool-Aid’

No job losses

Mantshantsha said Eskom has transferred the majority of Komati employees from the power station to support and augment skills in other power stations and areas of the business in line with operational requirements.

“No Eskom employees will lose their jobs as a result of the closure. The decommissioning of the power station has followed a diligent process which comprised undertaking a socioeconomic impact study.”

“Eskom has held extensive engagements with the employees, labour unions, the community and all affected stakeholders and communicated the requirement to shut down the plant timeously and clearly with everyone involved,” he said.  

New energy transition

Mantshantsha added that the end of Komati’s coal-fired journey marks the beginning of another “exciting journey in the service of South Africa.”

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. The power plant will be converted into a renewable generation site with 150MW of solar, 70MW of wind and 150MW of storage batteries, thereby continuing to put the site and its associated transmission infrastructure to good use and to provide economic opportunities to the community,” Mantshantsha said.

Funding

Mantshantsha said a containerised micro-grid assembly factory has already been established on site.

“Funding for this facility, which will enable a ‘just’ transition for the local community following the decommissioning of the power station, has already been received from one of the developmental finance institutions (DFIs) and Eskom will make an official announcement in due course.”

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.

ALSO READ: Eskom keeps to its promise as stage 2 load shedding returns on Monday

Read more on these topics

Eskom