South African utility Eskom Holdings SOC will shut down roughly 30% of its current coal-fired power generation capacity over the next decade and repurpose some of the sites for solar power production.
The utility intends to close 8,000 MW to 12,000 MW of coal-fired plants in its aging fleet in the next 10 years, it said in a Twitter post on Tuesday, pointing out that the average age of most of its facilities is 41 years. According to its website, the total power generation capacity stands at 44,171 MW, of which 36,479 MW comes from coal.
As part of the plan, the company's Komati power complex will cease operations in October 2022. Repurposing works at the site have already been initiated under a Just Energy Transition” project to build a 500-kW agrivoltaic system, and a microgrid assembly and fabrication factory. The photovoltaic (PV) plant will be coupled with 244 MWh of battery storage capacity.
Similar projects will be implemented at the Grootvlei, Hendrina and Camden stations, scheduled for retirement by 2025.
An Eskom official told Reuters this summer that the utility is seeking debt to embark on a USD-10-billion plan that will see it close most of its coal-fired plants by 2050 and replace the capacity with renewable energy.
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