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Eskom: Eskom invites comments on the socio-economic impact study for shutdown and repurposing of Komati Power Station

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A just energy transition secures the future and livelihoods of workers and their communities while transitioning to a low-carbon economy. Eskom has developed an ambitious and comprehensive Just Energy Transition (JET) strategy which places equivalent significance on the transitional components of the strategy and the ability to do so in a manner that is ‘just’, thus ensuring that socio-economic development is not eroded or hindered and that sustainable jobs are created.

In support of the JET strategy, Eskom has commissioned studies to understand the impact of the power station shutdown on the society and economy within the affected areas. In January 2020, following a strict procurement process, Eskom awarded Urban-Econ Development Economists a contract to undertake a socio-economic impact study on the planned shutdown and repurposing of the aged Komati, Hendrina and Grootvlei coal-fired power stations located in Mpumalanga.

This study was undertaken proactively to assess the prevailing socio-economic conditions within the immediate and greater Mpumalanga area, and to develop mitigation measures to reduce the potential negative social and economic impacts that could ensue from the shutdown of these three power stations.

As part of the study methodology, Urban-Econ Development Economists undertook an extensive social and economic data gathering and investigation process, inclusive of several stakeholder engagement sessions. The socio-economic impact assessment study for Komati Power Station has been completed and provides a detailed analysis of the potential impacts that could follow as a result of the closure of the power station and it proposes a plan to mitigate the identified impacts. The resultant socio-economic impact mitigation implementation plan follows a holistic approach and recommends solutions for repurposing and repowering Komati Power Station. The proposed solutions are multifaceted and seek to mitigate the effects on Eskom, the community and the economy through reskilling and upskilling of Komati Power Station’s staff and qualifying beneficiaries from the surrounding communities, and the development of local enterprises and value chains to support the overall JET strategy.

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