Komati Power Station heading for "exciting" new journey

Monday, October 31, 2022

The last generating unit of Eskom’s coal-fired Komati Power Station has officially been taken off the grid and the power station has been completely decommissioned after supplying electricity to South Africans since 1961.

According to Eskom, the move is in line with legislative requirements.

“Unit 9 was commissioned in March 1966, the last of the nine units that were built. Other units were shut down over the years as they reached the end of their operating life.

“Eskom has transferred the majority of Komati employees from the power station to support and augment the 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,” Eskom said.

In August, Eskom announced that it would be embarking on a collaboration with the South African Renewable Energy Technology Centre (SARETEC) to train and upskill the former Komati employees.

A training facility is being developed in this regard.

“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,” Eskom said.

The power utility said the shutdown of Komati will not have a significant impact on the grid as it was only supplying some 121MW of energy.

“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,” the electricity supplier said.

Eskom said it is now looking forward to an “exciting journey” for the power station as it will now be repurposed with the remaining employees taking part in the project.

“The power plant will be converted into a renewable generation site powered with 150MW of solar, 70MW of wind and 150MW of storage batteries thereby continuing to put the site and its associated transmission infrastructure into good use and to provide economic opportunities to the community. A containerised micro-grid assembly factory has already been established on site.

“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,” the power utility said. – SAnews.gov.za