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South Africa's Eskom fully decommisssions a 1 GW coal-fired power plant

3 Nov 2022

The South African state-owned power utility Eskom has fully decommissioned the 1 GW Komati coal-fired power plant in Mpumalanga. The plant will be converted to renewables, with 150 MW of solar, 70 MW of wind and 150 MW of storage. The last unit (unit 9) was only contributing 121 MW to the South African electricity grid. Unit 9 was first mothballed in 1989. However, a decision was made to return the power plant to service. The ninth generator re-entered commercial operations on 4 January 2009 after three years of refurbishment.

The 1 GW plant comprised five generators (units 1 to 5) of 100 MW each and four generators (units 6 to 9) of 125 MW each which started producing power between 1961 and 1966. Units were recommissioned between 2008 and 2014 after being mothballed in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Other units were previously shut down over the years as they reached the end of their operating life, which was a legislated requirement.

The country’s installed capacity stood at 54 GW at the end of 2021, with 67% of coal, 12% of solar, 7% of hydro, 6% of oil, 6% of wind and 3% of nuclear. Earlier in October 2022, the multilateral fund Climate Investments Funds awarded US$500m to South Africa for just transition from coal to clean power.

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