Eskom to decommission first of ageing coal fleet starting with Komati in October

SOUTH African power utility, Eskom will begin the first decommissioning its coal-fired fleet next month when it begins the shut down of its 1,000MW Komati power station near Middelburg in the country’s Mpumalanga province, said BusinessLive.

Next in line for decommissioning are the Hendrina, Camden and Grootvlei power stations which have a combined capacity of about 4,700MW. The closures will be done on a piecemeal basis over the next five years, the publication said.

Through the decommissioning of end-of-life coal-fired power plants, Eskom will retire about 22,000MW of generation capacity (about half of current installed capacity of about 45,000MW) by 2035.

Eskom is currently imposing power rationing of between 3,000MW and 4,000MW owing to a spate of breakdowns at its power stations and delays of diesel deliveries which it needs to operate its open cycle gas turbines.

South African president Cyril Ramaphosa said the ‘loadshedding’ was most likely to persist, at least for the short term. The news could not have come at a worst time for South Africa’s currency, the rand according to a report by Bloomberg News.

When judged against peers, like Mexico, it is possible to see the impact issues such as power cuts are having on the currency, Warrick Butler, the Johannesburg-based head of foreign exchange trading at Standard Bank, told the newswire.

Having weakened to R18 to the dollar, the next level to watch would be 18.17, which would open the way for 18.35, said Bloomberg News.