- South Africa’s Presidential Climate Commission has handed over to its Chairperson, President Cyril Ramaphosa, the recommendations and interim report to support a just transition at the Komati power station, and to help guide future coal power station decommissioning and repurposing projects.
- Eskom envisions that within the next few years, the Komati site will feed some 370MW of solar, wind and battery storage power to the grid.
Through its recent visit to Komati in July and October 2023 at the request of the President to the PCC to explore the decommissioning process followed at Komati Power Station, particularly as it pertains to justice, the PCC gained valuable insights that informed its recommendations on the future decommissioning of coal-fired power stations as they reach their end of operational life.
The Commission’s report back to the President follows the PCC’s consultative and multistakeholder engagement with labour, business, civil society and non-governmental organisations, the mayors and councillors including community members surrounding the power station, as well local government representatives local and district.
The meeting held last week, was also attended by Mpumalanga Premier, Hon Refliwe Mtshweni-Tsipane, the Eskom Board Chairperson and Executives, took time to reflect on the implications of the findings and recommendations on the socio-economic conditions of the communities in and around the power station as the repurposing and renewable energy repowering process at unfolds.
“We thank the PCC for bringing this travesty of procedural justice to the spotlight and for the recommendations, which require us deeply consider future decommissioning schedules and ensure that such, does not leave a legacy of ghost towns and impoverished communities in the mining towns and coal energy hubs in our province – It means we must begin the consultations and post closure economic diversification now ahead of the next power station to be decommissioned – otherwise we cannot justifiably and morally do it ” – said Mpumalanga Premier Refliwe Mtshweni-Tsipane
During the meeting, the President reemphasised the uniqueness the commission as a mechanism of rallying the diverse social partners together and believed that collectively we have the tools and the capability of navigating the just transition at Komati and nationwide and in the same breadth called for robust engagement and transparency in the deployment of resources for the Just energy transition.
“The commission welcomes the reception of the Report by the President and his commitment to take it to cabinet as a solid basis and foundation through which the just transition should be realised, ensuring no one is left behind” – “The recommendations present a roadmap for ensuring that justice is centrally located in future coal plant decommissioning, repowering, and repurposing projects. This includes getting the timing and sequencing right, engaging with communities, spurring economic diversification and alternative sustainable livelihoods in regions in transition.” – said Valli Moosa, PCC Deputy Chairperson
Following the special sitting with the President, the commission will table the revised report at its 12th Ordinary meeting scheduled for 17th November in Johannesburg for adoption.
Author: Bryan Groenendaal