Komati Power Station

From Global Energy Monitor

The Komati Power Station is a 1,000-megwatt (MW) coal-fired station owned by the South African publicly-owned electricity utility Eskom that was mothballed in 1990 but later recommissioned.


The undated satellite photo below shows the power station in South Africa

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The Komati power station was built between 1961-1964 with nine units; units 1-5 of 100 MW each and units 6-9 of 125 MW each, totaling 1000 MW capacity. In 1988, three units at Komati were mothballed, one was kept in reserve, and the other five were only operated during peak hours. In 1990 the complete station was mothballed until 2008, when unit 9 was the first to be recommissioned under Eskom's return to service project.[1]

A total of 700 MW (4 units at 125 MW and 2 units at 100 MW) were commissioned by 2013. The final 3 units were planned to be recommissioned and commercially operational by 2014.[2] The last unit went into operation by July 2014.[3]

The units were recommissioned in the following years:[4]

  • Unit 9: December 2008
  • Unit 8: March 2009
  • Units 3 and 7: 2010
  • Unit 4: 2011
  • Unit 5: February 2012
  • Units 6 and 2: 2013[2]
  • Unit 1: 2014[2]

In April 2016 the Eskom Board said it approved the commencement of a pre-feasibility study for renewal options for four of its oldest power stations: Komati, Camden, Hendrina, and Arnot. The pre-feasibility study would take 18 months to complete, and would include looking at options such as plant life extension.[5]

In March 2017 Eskom said that it would hold meetings with the government and labour to discuss its plans to decommission five power stations over the next five years: Komati Power Station, Hendrina Power Station, Kriel Power Station, Grootvlei Power Station, and Camden Power Station. Eskom said the stations are old and unneeded, given the country's plans for new power capacity by independent power producers (IPPs).[6]

In 2017, two older coal-fired units from Eskom's Grootvlei Power Station, one older unit from Eskom's Hendrina Power Station, and two older units from Eskom's Komati Power Station were placed into coal reserve because their running costs were higher than other units. A government spokesman said that the old stations were expected to remain uneconomical to run, even if refurbished, compared to renewable energy IPP power options and the company's newer stations at Medupi and Kusile.[7]

In 2019, it was reported the plant's nine units were planned for retirement in 2021.[8] However, in April 2020, Eskom listed the retirement dates for the units between 2024 and 2028.[9]

According to Eskom's 2020 Annual Report, all units at the power station except units 4 and 9 "have been placed in reserve storage or extended inoperability and their capacity removed from the nominal base... due to technical and/or financial constraints."[10]

In October 2021, the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment granted Eskom with positive environmental compliance postponement decisions for Komati as it was scheduled to shut down in 2022.[11]

Just Energy Transition (JET) plans

Repurposing & Repowering Proposal

As of February 2021, Eskom was preparing a Request for Proposal for the repowering and repurposing of the Komati power station and was planning to launch bidding in Spring 2021. In 2021, social impact studies were completed for Eskom's Komati, Hendrina, Grootvlei, and Camden power stations to assess what impact the closure of the power stations would have on direct, indirect, and induced employment, as well as on large and small businesses in the areas surrounding the plants. The company also evaluated the various responses received to a request for expressions of interest for the repowering of the stations, using renewable-energy and storage solutions, or possibly switching their fuel sources to either gas or hydrogen. In addition, it received various repurposing proposals, ranging from the creation of training facilities to the development of agricultural activities on the sites.[12]

In April 2021, Eskom was still preparing the Request for Proposals. However, it signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with development financier Agence Française de Développement (AFD) that included a specific objective of creating a framework for cooperation and collaboration on Eskom’s evolving ‘just energy transition’ strategy. Eskom established a Just Energy Transition Office to oversee the repowering and repurposing, and the MoU makes specific reference to facilitating dialogue between the company and strategic stakeholders around the Komati power station. Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter highlighted in a statement that Komati would be among those coal-fired power stations that it hoped to use as a showcase of a “more sustainable future under the just energy transition strategy”. He also noted that it was “non-negotiable” that the strategy of growing investment in renewable technologies at the sites be coupled with a positive impact on both the country’s electricity industry and on stimulating a local market and increased job creation in the country’s coal regions.[13]

Eskom's Integrated Report released in October 2021 and a November 2021 visual essay described repowering activities.[14][15]

Coal units retiring

In August 2021, Eskom said that the Komati power station in Mpumalanga would be completely retired in October 2022. The South African electric utility said that it had commenced repurposing work at the Komati Power Station this month. The company was preparing the location for a 500kW agrivoltaic plant, a fabrication factory, and a micro grid assembly. Komati was planned to be repowered by using a solar photovoltaic (PV) plant supported by 244MWh battery storage. The electric utility said that the Komati Power Station was positioned ideally to be a flagship Just Energy Transition (JET) project for subsequent repowering projects.[16]

Project Details

  • Sponsor: Eskom
  • Parent company: Eskom
  • Location: Middleburg, South Africa
  • Coordinates: -26.09078,29.47446 (exact)
  • Status: Operating (two older units on cold reserve)
  • Gross Capacity: 1,000 MW (Units 1-5: 100 MW, Units 6-9: 125 MW)
  • Type: Subcritical
  • In service: commissioned 1961-1964, recommissioned 2008-2014
  • Projected retirement: October 2022
  • Coal Type: Bituminous
  • Coal Source:
  • Source of financing:

Articles and resources


  1. "The Role of the State in the Energy Sector," Department of Minerals and Energy (South Africa), accessed January 13, 2010
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Eskom Generation and Transmission Expansion Plans," Presentation by Andrew Etzinger, Senior General Manager of Eskom, March 2013
  3. "Eskom reports R7.1 billion net profit for 2014 financial year end," ESI Africa, July 14, 2014
  4. "Komati Power Station," Eskom, accessed January 2016
  5. "Eskom Board approves Fleet Renewal Strategy based on economic viability," Eskom, April 24, 2016
  6. "NUM goes to war over proposed Eskom power station closures," Mining Weekly, March 29, 2017
  7. "Jobs Issue Plagues Green Energy," Mail&Guardian, May 18, 2018
  8. "Eskom starts shutting down old coal power plants," Fin24, March 1, 2019
  9. "Response of Eskom to CER, Reference number: PAIA 0087 MAN , CER website, April 28, 2020
  10. "Integrated Report," Eskom, 2020
  11. “Eskom to engage on way forward after being denied permission to delay air-quality compliance,” Engineering News, December 14, 2021
  12. "Eskom could launch bidding for repurposing and repowering of Komati within two months," Engineering News, February 16, 2021
  13. French financier pledges support for Eskom’s ‘just energy transition’ strategy," Engineering News, May 3, 2021
  14. "2021 Integrated Report," Eskom, October 2021
  15. "The dirty business of apartheid-era dinosaurs: Inside an Eskom coal-fired power plant," Daily Maverick, November 22, 2021
  16. "Eskom to retire 8-12GW of coal-fired power generation by 2031," NS Energy, August 8, 2021

Related GEM.wiki articles

External resources

External articles

Wikipedia also has an article on Komati Power Station. This article may use content from the Wikipedia article under the terms of the GFDL.