Eskom and the South African Renewable Energy Technology Centre (SARETEC) have embarked on a collaboration that aims to train and upskill staff at the Komati Power Station and qualifying community members around the power station to become renewable energy artisans.
The collaboration is a manifestation of the power utility’s Just Energy Transition (JET) strategy, which seeks to ensure that power station staff and communities living around them are not left behind as Eskom transitions towards lower carbon emissions and winds down its coal fire power station business.
According to Eskom, the initiative is expected to address the “dire lack of skills” in the renewable energies value chain.
“The objective is to educate, reskill and upskill Eskom Komati Power Station staff and qualifying beneficiaries from the surrounding communities in the Mpumalanga region. This is in line with Eskom’s Just Energy Transition drive and SARETEC’s vision to ensure a pipeline of local skills responding to economic needs and readiness for the inevitable transition.
“Given the accelerated global movement towards investment in a clean energy transition, there is a need in South Africa to upskill, retrain and develop a workforce to take full advantage of the opportunities presented by this transition.
“Moreover, the risk of job losses and redundancy due to the transition presents an opportunity to provide training and upskilling for new industries that can be scaled up as a result of the transition, particularly the renewables industry,” Eskom said in a statement.
The power utility explained that over the next three years, SARETEC is expected to support its establishment of a renewable energy training facility.
“SARETEC has, since its inception, established itself not only as a renewable energy subject matter expert but significantly contributed to the national skills pool of artisans and technicians, with a special focus on wind and solar.
“SARETEC will support Eskom for the next 36 months to establish a similar renewable energy training facility fit for purpose to train artisans and technicians at Eskom’s Komati Power Station. The facility will be managed by Eskom’s Academy of Learning (EAL),” Eskom said.
The power utility said it will also “continue to draw ongoing support” from renewable energy industry associations, the South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) and the South African Solar Photovoltaic Industry Association (SAPVIA) on the training initiative.
“[They] are an integral part of the South African renewable energy industry, as they promote innovation and cohesion amongst all the role players and stakeholders,” Eskom said.