Eskom pins hopes on returning Koeberg and Kusile power station units to reduce pressure on constrained power system
- May 13, 2022 2:11 pm GMT
Image Source: News24
Eskom's presentation during the State of the System update today revealed that the national electricity grid remains constrained, with an elevated risk of loadshedding over the winter period, particularly during the morning and evening peaks. During the next few weeks, Eskom will return to service two units at
Unit 2 of the
Since January Eskom has had to operate with only a single unit, or half the capacity, of Koeberg, while the other unit has been undergoing a routine refuelling and other Long-Term Operation activities. Added to this Koeberg capacity being offline for this period, Eskom has also had to cope without the 794MW normally contributed by the damaged Unit 4 of
"As Eskom grapples with loadshedding and other operational challenges, we remain committed to the principles of openness and transparency about our operations. As such, the State of the System update, the Eskom Data Portal and the regular media briefings give us an opportunity to provide insights about the state of the power system and keep South Africans and all stakeholders informed and enable them to plan ahead, are consistent with this commitment accountability," remarked
"Eskom also wishes to thank all South Africans for continuously heeding the call to use electricity sparingly, thus assisting in alleviating the pressure on the power system."
Due to low plant availability Eskom has increasingly relied on the usage of diesel-powered open cycle gas turbines (OCGTs) to limit the implementation of loadshedding, from 1 January to 10 May this year, loadshedding has been implemented for 32 days. This is six days more than the 26 days of loadshedding during the same period last year. The increase in the implementation of loadshedding came on the back of higher levels of unplanned plant breakdowns, which averaged 26% of the fleet in the period ended
As Eskom has consistently communicated, the high levels of planned maintenance are its major internal response to limit the breakdowns by increasing the reliability of the plant. During the summer months approximately 12% of the generation capacity had been taken offline for planned maintenance in preparation for the winter.
"Planned maintenance is Eskom's only weapon to try bring reliability and predictability to a neglected plant," said Eskom Chief Operating Officer,
"In order to create space to effectively execute on the Reliability Maintenance Recovery (RMR) programme while fully powering a growing economy,
Long-term solutions were implemented on coal handling to effectively address coal stock challenges which have long been a contributing factor to poor plant performance. Coal stock levels are healthy with average of 38 days' worth, excluding Medupi and Kusile. Coal stocks jump to an average 77 days' worth of stock when those two are included.
Significant progress is also being made in the completion of the new build
Modification and correction of the major design defects on the boiler plant at Medupi have been completed. This has significantly improved the performance of the power station, helping to limit the implementation of loadshedding. Medupi's energy availability factor (EAF) rose to 67% by the end of
"Each of the six generation units had to be switched off for 75 days to perform this work. This will indeed prove to be a worthy sacrifice for the people of
"This consistently higher EAF is the clearest testament to the correctness and accuracy of the agreed technical solutions and the corrective work of what had hobbled the performance of the power station."
Once the agreed technical solutions are complete at both stations, Eskom expects both Medupi and Kusile to form the backbone of an evolving and greener power system that will be able to take
The unit, which produced electricity for 454 days without interruption ahead of the
In addition, the Koeberg Long-Term Operation (LTO) activities to enable Koeberg to operate for another 20 years beyond 2024/25 are underway. Eskom will by
As part of the review of Koeberg life extension programme, an
Sharing the Winter Plan, Eskom's Group Executive for Transmission, Segomoco Scheppers, highlighted that the outlook shows an elevated risk of loadshedding remains. "One thing counting in favour of the country is the world class and effective management by the transmission system operator, whose main task is to maintain the balance between supply and demand," said Scheepers.
In executing its duties, the System Operator will unfortunately continue to rely on the usage of the Open Cycle Gas Turbines, which burn expensive diesel to mitigate the impact of loadshedding. The distribution system continues to provide good and sustainable performance.
Meanwhile, the Ingula Nature Reserve was included in the
Once again, Eskom wish to express sincere gratitude to outgoing Group Executive for Generation, Phillip Dukashe for his contribution to Eskom and the country over the past 26 years of his employment at Eskom. We also thank the interim Group Executive, Rhulani Mathebula, for readily stepping into the role and accepting this critical responsibility.
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