Stage 6 load shedding and above is a big possibility for the winter months ahead.
Dr. However, Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, minister in the presidency responsible for electricity, believes the power crisis can be resolved despite the challenges at Eskom.
The minister held a media briefing earlier this week after his visits to Eskom’s power stations.
Ramokgopa outlined the challenges at each of the power stations. These include, among others, coal quality due to underinvestment at mines, problems with emission levels at some power stations and worker morale due to some stations due to be decommissioned in the near future.
“I am more than confident that we have the capacity, the will and the expertise to solve load shedding. I’m sure as soon as I go to the cabinet and map out what these options are [om uitdagings by kragstasies op te los] is, we should be able to say what the timelines are.”
Some of the possible solutions that Ramokgopa put forward include extending the lifespan of old coal-fired power stations, but then not meeting the climate goals the government has committed to.
He further believes that investment should be made in the renovation of coal-fired power stations to improve their performance and that it is necessary to think beyond the limitations of Eskom’s balance sheet and to provide fiscal support to Eskom, even if it has a larger budget deficit to consequence.
This is what the situation looks like at Eskom’s power stations
About Medupi and Kusile, Ramokgopa said a large amount of Eskom’s capacity is at the two power stations and they are therefore too big to fail.
At Medupi, the big problem is the premature failure of units – with the oldest unit only eight years old and the youngest only two years old. Corruption is a big problem here with the wrong equipment being used due to suppliers trying to capitalize on the situation at Eskom. Medupi cannot function at full capacity up to 24% of the time. Medupi’s energy availability factor (EBF) stands at 70%.
At Kusile there are three units that are out of service after a feed pipe to their shared chimney collapsed. Kusile has a system for wet exhaust gas desulfurization, but due to human error and faulty equipment, a cement-like attack led to structural damage to the feed pipe. However, Eskom has now received permission from the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment to bypass the system to speed up repairs and thus be able to restart the three units by the end of the year and add more than 2,000 MW to the system. can add The EBF of the available units is just over 37%.
Kendal struggles to stay within his pollution limits and as a result has to limit generation. One of the options being considered is to get permission to exceed the limits to run the power station at full capacity. Kendal’s EBF is 46.75%.
Matimba is one of Eskom’s best performing power stations, but there are major problems in obtaining the necessary spare parts for repairs. An option that is therefore being considered is to bypass procurement processes in the short term. The station also has a problem with coal quality. Matimba’s EBF is 75%.
Majuba is not generating at half its capacity due to the mill plant in need of renovation. However, Eskom does not have the money to do this. Majuba’s EBF is just over 47%.
Lethabo is another of the best performing stations, but also struggles with coal quality. Lethabo has an EBF of 73.81%.
Tutuka only produces a quarter of its generating capacity due to design errors in many of the units. Some of the other units have already been adapted, but there is no money to renovate the others. The station is supposed to be closed in 2030. Tutuka has an EBF of just 26.02%.
At the Matla power station there are also difficulties due to poor coal quality and the EBF is 53.75%.
Kriel is also not producing even half of its generating capacity due to its cooling towers which have not been renovated. Kriel’s EBF is 49.64%.
Duvha is also only delivering around 40% of his ability.
At Arnot, two units must be switched off in 2026 and this will result in the loss of around 400 MW. Arnot’s EBF is 50.4%.
Hendrina and Grootvlei
Four of Hendrina’s units are out of service while three units at Grootvlei are out of service. Hendrina has an EBF of 23.3%.
At Camden, three units are to be decommissioned by July and the entire power station is to close in 2025.
At Koeberg there is a delay of more than 40 days for the re-commissioning of unit 1. Three steam developers at unit 2 will also be replaced after the successful work on unit one.
Eskom’s open-cycle gas turbines are being used more and more. According to Ramokgopa, it is supposed to run only 4% of the time, but it is now running 11.5% of the time. About 45,000 liters of diesel per unit are used when the power stations are running.
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