WATCH | ‘If I had my way, we'd go and restart Komati’: Ramokgopa
Electricity minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa has been in the spotlight recently for suggesting the decision to shut down the Komati power station in Mpumalanga was influenced by financial gain and pressure to transition from coal-fired stations to renewable energy.
Speaking at a Standard Bank conference this week, Ramakgopa described the station as one of the best-performing at the time of closure, saying if it was up to him he would reopen it
“If I had my way, we'd go and restart Komati. We closed a power station which was the best-performing station at the time and because someone gave us money and said decarbonise it,” Ramakgopa said.
Eskom announced the closure of the coal-fired station due to its age. The station was opened 62 years ago. Over the years units had been closed as they had reached the end of their operating life, Eskom said.
“The shutting down of the plant will not have a significant impact on the national electricity grid as the remaining unit was only contributing 121MW,” Eskom said at the time.
Ramakgopa said because of the closure of Komati, Eskom was struggling to ease load-shedding.
“I’m stating things that are against the official position of the government, but I will surface them. The truth must be told of an injustice unfolding in Komati in the name of the transmission.
“I am short of 1,000MW that should be reducing one stage of load-shedding. We have international obligations, but I’m sorry we have an obligation to the South African people,” he said.
Eskom told TimesLIVE the station capacity was 904MW and the performance of the station when all units were operational was at 54.88% in 2016, 64.83% in 2017 and 56.80% in 2018.
Units at the station were shut down from 2018 and by 2022 only one unit was being used.
“All units have been shut down and placed in reserve storage. The site is being used for repurposing and repowering, where for the repowering it will generate about 370MW (150MW solar PV, 150MW battery storage and 70MW wind),” Eskom said.
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