Eskom’s closure of five old coal-fired power stations over the next 10 years, at a loss of about 30,000 direct and indirect jobs, was foreseen more than a decade ago. In the next five years it will close the 2,000MW Hendrina, 1,600MW Camden, 1,000MW Komati and 3,000MW Kriel power stations, spokesman Khulu Phasiwe says. A fifth station, the 1,200MW Grootvlei, will close within 10 years. Komati is the oldest of these power stations, which came on line between 1961 and 1979. Oddly, the 40-year-old Arnot (2,100MW) is not on the closure list. Some suspect this is because the Gupta family’s Tegeta Exploration & Resources has the coal supply contract but Phasiwe says it is because there are still nearby coal resources. In the past eight years the department of energy has signed up 6,422MW of renewable power from independent companies, including 1,121MW in the fourth round of bids. So far 2,902MW has been connected to the grid. Eskom has delayed signing offtake agreements for the fourth rou...

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