Air quality offsets programme

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Eskom is pursuing a multi-pronged approach to improving ambient air quality, including reducing emissions at the existing coal-fired fleet, investing in power generation from renewables and nuclear, and implementing air quality offsets. Retrofitting abatement technology and diversifying the energy mix are extremely costly and take a long time to implement.
The Air Quality Officers in the affected district municipalities have directed Eskom (through Atmospheric Emissions Licences issued to its power stations) to implement air quality offsets in communities affected by Eskom operations. Air quality offsets address emissions sources directly within vulnerable communities, targeting greater improvement in community-experienced air quality than is achievable from other approaches. In addition, such offsets are more cost effective and result in meaningful improvement of air quality within a shorter time frame.
Eskom has initiated an Air Quality Offset (AQO) Programme. The aim of the programme is to identify and test possible air quality offset interventions and to implement the most feasible interventions. To give effect to the programme, Eskom has developed Air Quality Offset Implementation Plans (3 of) four power stations in Nkangala, Gert Sibande and Fezile Dabi District Municipalities.

Pilot Study

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The Execution of a Household Emission Offset Pilot Study In the Highveld Priority Area, Mpumalanga

Eskom conducted a pilot project on 120 RDP houses in KwaZamokuhle (adjacent to Hendrina town) from 2015 to 2017 in order to test interventions most likely to reduce emissions from burning coal and wood by households. The interventions tested include:

  • Installing insulated ceilings
  • Installing insulated ceilings and insulation on three walls
  • Replacing the coal stoves with low emission coal stoves
  • Replacing the coal stoves with liquid petroleum gas (LPG) heaters and stoves
  • An electricity subsidy in the winter months.

 Each household was given an insulation retrofit and either a low emission coal stove, or an LPG heater and stove, or an electricity subsidy.

Air quality monitoring

Photo Air quality offsets programme

Monitoring stations have been set up to monitor the air quality in communities. The measurements are used to identify the main sources of pollution in the communities and to determine the improvement in air quality as the interventions are implemented. The following parameters are monitored continuously: Particulate Matter (PM10 and PM2.5), sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), ozone (O3), temperature, wind speed and direction, rainfall, pressure and relative humidity.