Komati economy hammered as Eskom power plant’s solar and wind transition gets delayed

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When Eskom shut down Komati’s last coal-fired unit in October 2022, it announced an ambitious pilot project that would see the plant converted to renewables like solar and wind.

Delays in converting Eskom’s decommissioned Komati coal power plant into a hybrid renewable energy facility have caused “despair and frustration” in the small Mpumalanga town,The publication said that many Komati residents — including business people — had observed a devasting economic downturn and increased unemployment as the project has moved at a snail’s pace.

However, the remaining employees Eskom assigned to participate in the Komati Repowering and Repurposing project have now been left to sit on their hands. “It is still awaiting final regulatory approval before becoming effective, which is expected to be in place by the end of July 2023,” Eskom said. Sunday Times also spoke to multiple business owners who lamented Komati’s gradual decline into a ghost town.

The fact that it was offline for two decades meant the plant’s effective operating age was closer to 40 years.

 

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