South Africa: Consultants sought for coal plant repurposing

25 Nov 2020
Camden, Hendrina, Grootvlei, and Komati coal power plants

The World Bank Group (WBG) is inviting expressions of interest from consultants to assess the implications of retiring the Camden, Hendrina, Grootvlei, and Komati coal power plants in South Africa. The consultant will look at the technical, environmental, socioeconomic, and financial implications of decommissioning the plants to help inform the WBG’s future engagement with South Africa. The consultant will also feed into discussions about the ‘just energy transition’, where the WBG expects to become increasingly active.

The consultant will carry out a power system analysis assessing whether the existing system will remain stable following retirement and able to absorb planned capacity additions; plant retiring and mining analysis looking at cost estimates for retiring the sites and conditions for repurposing; shortlist prospective generation technology options for repurposing; assess environmental and socioeconomic risks and impacts; and analyse the economic costs and benefits of different retirement and repurposing options.

50% of national utility Eskom’s coal fleet is 39 years or older and 5.4GW was earmarked for decommissioning by 2022 in South Africa’s Integrated Resource Plan – the document setting out the country’s future energy mix – published last year. While continuing with the decommissioning of coal power plants and increasing the amount of renewable energy on the grid, the government has announced a ‘just transition’ policy aiming to address the socioeconomic impact of the transition.

There are currently around 1,400 workers directly employed by the four coal power plants. The impact on the coal mines supplying the plants is expected to be limited in the short-to-medium term as Eskom has a coal supply shortage and intends to redirect remaining contractual volumes to other power plants.

Since the beginning of the year, Eskom has been looking at options for repurposing the plants with the core aims of reusing existing power transmission infrastructure, developing new generation capacity, providing ancillary services, and mitigating socioeconomic impact. In addition to conversion to gas or use of the site for renewable generation or battery storage, parts of the infrastructure can be used for ancillary services such as frequency and voltage control and inertia. It launched a request for information in May following an internal technical review.

Expressions of interest are due from consultants by 14 December and should be submitted via the WBG’s eConsult2 website.



Africa Investment Exchange: Power and Renewables


September 2020 to February 2021 – online

The 7th AIX: Power & Renewables will be a series of monthly meetings held in a virtual environment between September 2020 to February 2021, with live streaming, fringe events, an online exhibition and networking opportunities.

View the agenda (pdf)