Home National Eskom Ramping Up Power Cuts to Replenish Emergency Reserves – Ramokgopa

Eskom Ramping Up Power Cuts to Replenish Emergency Reserves – Ramokgopa

by Central News Reporter
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Chinese Agreements and Donation to Address South Africa's Energy Crisis - Ramokgopa

Kgosientsho Ramokgopa

In a recent announcement, Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, the Electricity Minister, stated that Eskom, the state-owned power entity in South Africa, would be ramping up power cuts to replenish emergency reserves.

This decision comes after Eskom lost a “cluster” of units from different power stations across the country, resulting in a shortage of over 2,700 megawatts (MW). As a result, Eskom implemented Stage 3 load shedding from 9:00 on Sunday morning until 5:00 on Monday to replenish the emergency reserves needed for the upcoming week.

According to the Minister, the return of Units 1 and 3 in the Kusile Power Station has been significant in alleviating the severity of load shedding. The return of these units has created an additional buffer, reducing the intensity of load shedding. However, the Minister emphasized the importance of Units 2 and 5 also returning to further mitigate the impact of power cuts.

During this period of unit failures, Eskom has relied on the burning of diesel and open-cycle gas turbines (OGGT) running on steam. This is a measure that Eskom had tried to avoid in previous weeks, instead preserving diesel resources and relying on the units themselves to provide the required megawatts. However, due to the failure of generating units, the emergency reserves have been depleted.

Despite the unexpected extent of the breakdown, the Minister remains optimistic that the five units that are currently offline will be brought back online by tonight. These units include ones from Duvha, Majuba, and Lethabo power stations. The Minister stressed the importance of adhering to timelines to ensure the timely return of the units and alleviate the current situation.

In another development, Unit 1 at the Koeberg Power Station was successfully synchronized to the grid on Saturday after being offline for almost a year. This outage was the longest in the history of the power station, during which the original three steam generators were replaced by new ones. Once Unit 1 is considered stable, Unit 2 will be taken offline to replace its steam generators as well. The Minister acknowledged that there are concerns about Unit 2’s timeline, based on the experience with Unit 1. However, discussions with management are ongoing to address these concerns and ensure the timely return of Unit 2.

In addition to these updates, the Minister assured the media that the government is prioritizing policy issues and providing certainty regarding South Africa’s energy mix, transmission intervention, and additional generation capacity. These policy decisions are expected to be finalized by the end of December this year.

Cooling towers at a coal-based power station owned by state power utility Eskom in Duhva, South Africa, February 18, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

Cooling towers at a coal-based power station owned by state power utility Eskom in Duhva, South Africa, February 18, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

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