Eskom gets multimillion dollar funding for Komati training center

The Komati coal-fired power plant has been retrofitted to provide clean energy.

  • Eskom has secured a multi-million dollar deal for a training center in Mpumalanga as part of its just transition plans.
  • The center will allow the requalification and improvement of the skills of workers and communities in order to participate in the renewable energy sector.
  • GEAPP global lender partners include the Bezos Earth Fund and the Rockefeller Foundation.
  • Get the greatest business stories sent by email every weekday, or go to News24 Front page of business.

Eskom secured US $ 2.17 million (~ Rr 38 million) funding to create a training facility that will help retrain workers at the Komati power plant and communities in the surrounding Mpumalanga region.

News24 Business understands that the multi-million dollar grant will be provided by the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAPP). The group of global donors that aims to help developing countries switch to clean energy as part of climate commitments. The alliance includes governments, entrepreneurs and philanthropic partners such as Bezos Earth Fund, The Rockefeller Foundation and IKEA Foundation.

In August, Eskom signed a Memorandum of Agreement with Cape Peninsula University of Technology’s South African Renewable Energy Technology Center (SARETEC). The agreement will see SARETEC assist Eskom in creating a similar renewable energy training facility to improve the skills of craftsmen and technicians at the Komati power plant.

SARETEC is the only fully accredited training center for renewable energy in South Africa. It has been operating since 2016 and has trained hundreds of technicians on renewable energy skills.

At the time, Eskom CEO André de Ruyter praised SARETEC for being a leader in its field.

“We are thrilled to work together with Eskom and SARETEC on this new training facility, which will focus on worker retraining, before the decommissioning even begins. This facility can inform retraining programs in other power plants and catalyze investment in the ‘South Africa’s energy transition,’ said Joseph Nganga, GEAPP’s executive director for Africa.

READ | Eskom, CPUT join forces to retrain workers as coal-fired Komati starts to restart

The Komati Training Facility is in line with Eskom’s just energy transition plans to retrain, retrain and retrain workers and communities – who currently depend on the coal value chain – to participate in the renewable energy sector.

The initiative will help mitigate the risk of job loss, while also creating new economic opportunities for young people.

Eskom is repurposing the Komati coal-fired power plant to include 150 MW of solar, 70 MW of wind and 150 MW of batteries. A containerized micro-grid assembly factory will also be set up in Komati. Its latest unit is expected to be decommissioned at the end of the month, Eskom previously said.

Once completed, the training center will be managed by Eskom’s Academy of Learning (EAL). The EAL will be supported by SARETEC to achieve accreditation over time, which will allow Eskom to replicate the training center in other locations or stations.

CPUT Vice-Chancellor Professor Chris Nhlapo shared the view that the model should be replicated across South Africa. “By helping Eskom create and accredit its training facility, SARETEC is fulfilling its mandate to support the socio-economic needs of the country, the continent and the world,” said Nhlapo.