Eskom, Netherlands sign agreement

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Eskom and the Kingdom of the Netherlands have signed a letter of intent which will pave the way forward for a pre-feasibility study for what it calls a “climate-smart, labour intensive agriculture/horticulture development” at the site of the Grootvlei Power Station in Mpumalanga.

According to Eskom, the development study will explore an integrated and sustainable approach for the repurposing of the coal fired power station in accordance with the power producer’s commitments towards greener energy production and South Africa’s Just Energy Transition (JET).

“We are keen to assess all options for repurposing our sites that will ensure greater community involvement, innovative revenue creation and upliftment of the socio-economic standing of these areas.

“The aim of the study is to determine the most applicable, climate-smart, labour intensive farming and agricultural related repurposing opportunities for the Grootvlei Power Station site to create positive social, economic and environmental impact on the surrounding area whilst ensuring local community involvement and empowerment,” Eskom said.

These repurposing opportunities will be employed in addition to the renewable energy repowering options that are currently being assessed for the site.

“These activities are complimentary and fulfil the aim of Eskom’s JET strategy to meet both decarbonisation and socio-economic goals,” the power utility said.

According to Eskom, the collaboration between it and the Netherlands is already beginning to bear fruit.

“The collaboration thus far has resulted in a Geographical Information Systems study of the Grootvlei area, a repurposing options assessment, a preliminary situational analysis of the property by horticulture experts and soil and water quality analyses by specialists,” Eskom said.

It is envisioned that employees at power stations and surrounding local communities will be socially and economically impacted as coal fired power stations wind down operations in favour of green energy and Eskom said it is committed to making sure that they are not left behind but are empowered in different ways.

“Eskom's Just Energy Transition Office places equal importance on the transition to low carbon technologies and the ability to do so in a manner that is just.

“Eskom is therefore committed to ensuring that socio-economic and environmental benefits of transitioning are realised, that employees and communities are involved in finding the solutions and that the transition does not exacerbate the already high unemployment rate in our country but results in a net increase in sustainable jobs,” the power supplier said.

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