"One hundred miles east of Johannesburg in South Africa, the Komati Power
Station is hard to miss, looming above the flat grassland and farming
landscapes like an enormous eruption of concrete, brick, and metal.
When the coal-fired power station first spun up its turbines in 1961, it had
twice the capacity of any existing power station in South Africa. It has been
operational for more than half a century, but as of October 2022, Komati has
been retired—the stacks are cold and the coal deliveries have stopped.
Now a different kind of activity is taking place on the site, transforming it
into a beacon of clean energy: 150 MW of solar, 70 MW of wind, and 150 MW of
storage batteries. The beating of coal-fired swords into sustainable plowshares
has become the new narrative for the Mpumalanga province, home to most of South
Africa’s coal-fired power stations, including Komati.
To get here, the South African government has had to think outside the box.
Phasing out South Africa’s aging coal-fired power station fleet—which supplies
86 percent of the country’s electricity—is expensive and politically risky, and
could come at enormous social and economic cost to a nation already struggling
with energy security and socioeconomic inequality. In the past, bits and pieces
of energy-transition funding have come in from organizations such as the World
Bank, which assisted with the Komati repurposing, but for South Africa to truly
leave coal behind, something financially bigger and better was needed.
That arrived at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, in November
2021, in the form of a partnership between South Africa, European countries,
and the US. Together, they made a deal to deliver $8.5 billion in loans and
grants to help speed up South Africa’s transition to renewables, and to do so
in a socially and economically just way.
This agreement was the first of what’s being called Just Energy Transition
Partnerships, or JETPs, an attempt to catalyze global finance for emerging
economies looking to shift energy reliance away from fossil fuels in a way that
doesn’t leave certain people and communities behind."
Via Future Crunch
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics