Just energy transition
The Eskom Just Energy Transition (JET) office is tasked with moving Eskom to net carbon neutrality by 2050, by which date it is envisaged that just 20% of South Africa’s electricity will be generated from coal. And doing so in a way that is just (“doing better for people and the planet, growing localisation and industrialisation”). In particular, JET is concerned with the socioeconomic impact on communities arising from the need to decommission no fewer than ten power stations by 2040. Local options for these facilities include “repurposing”(adapting their land, plant, equipment and infrastructure to new uses and services) and “repowering: (using them for renewable technologies or converting their boilers for gas firing or biomass).
In catalysing South Africa's decarbonisation, JET aims to lead in re-engineering business models of Eskom and the electricity sector and in attracting green funding.
Eskom has aspirations to become a serious player in the renewables generation space in its own right, for instance, between 2025 and 2030 aiming to supply half of the IRP’s wind allocation and a third of the PV allocation. It envisages construction of renewable capacity for its own account beginning as early as 2022. This would be subject to it obtaining green financing for its own projects or, if this fails to materialise, formalising arrangements including power purchase agreements and tariffs. It will also require ministerial determinations and other approvals.
On 31 July 2021 Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter was quoted as telling the Presidential Climate Commission that his organisation was looking to find funding for the conversion of 8 017 MW of coal-generated capacity to renewables.
Projects were 1 566 MW of solar, 600 MW from wind; 4 000MW; 61 MW battery storage, 1 400MW from micro-grids; and 390MW from pumped storage. De Ruyter reiterated that the ageing Komati power plant was being earmarked to serve as a prototype for conversion.