Skills push to move Eskom away from coal

 ·23 Aug 2022

Eskom is working with the South African Renewable Technology Centre (SARETEC) to upskill its workers and adapt to the shift to renewable energy, moving away from coal power stations.

On Monday (22 August), the national power utility signed a memorandum of agreement with SARETEC to develop renewable energy artisan skills and support the implementation of the Just Energy Transition (JET) Strategy.

The JET Strategy places importance on the ‘transition to lower carbon technologies,’ while taking the workforce into account, said Eskom.

“Eskom has a pipeline of clean energy projects at various stages of development and recognises that there is a dire lack of skills along the value chain,” it said.

SARETEC is an initiative of the Department of Higher Education and Training and focuses specifically on accredited training in the renewable energy industry – including wind and solar.

It will support Eskom for the next 36 months to establish a similar renewable energy training facility fit for the purpose of training artisans and technicians at Eskom’s Komati Power Station and qualifying beneficiaries from the surrounding communities in the Mpumalanga region.

Eskom said that as a member of both the South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) and the South African Solar Photovoltaic Industry Association (SAPVIA), it would continue to draw ongoing support from them.

Just 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,” said Eskom.

The risk of job losses and redundancy due to the transition away from coal presents an opportunity to provide training and to upskill for new industries that can be scaled up as a result of the transition, particularly the renewables industry, it added.

Earlier this year, president Cyril Ramaphosa took a significant step in moving South Africa away from its coal dependency by greenlighting its Just Transition Framework that advocates for a massive expansion of renewable energy, battery storage, new energy vehicles, green minerals, and hydrogen economy.

The Just Transition Framework was concluded with the governments of the US, United Kingdom, Germany, France and the EU in 2021.

Read: Capitec is desperate for these skills – as professionals leave South Africa

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