Cape Business News met up with Eskom at the Power-Gen and DistribuTECH Africa conference and exhibition last week to have a discussion on the national power grid, generators and renewable projects in South Africa.
On the question regarding the status of the Medupi and Kusile generators, Eskom said that Medupi is up to 800MW, contributing to the national grid even while Unit 6 is still in test phase/ synchronisation mode.
“The first unit (unit 6) is on track for commercialization in August 2015, while the Kusile project is making good progress. Synchronization of its first unit (Unit 1) is expected in 2017. The Ingula project is also making good progress,” the power utility said.” Synchronization of the first unit (Unit 3) is expected during the first half of 2016.”
Eskom said the inclusion of the first Medupi unit onto the grid helped reduce the pressure on the grid.
“We are seeing the benefits from the Build Programme as Medupi contributes up to 800MW to the grid when available during the test phase and Sere up to 100MW.”
The Sere wind project was commercialised on time and within budget on 31 March 2015, after it started contributing to the grid in December 2014. Sere was Eskom's first large-scale renewable energy project, and forms part of its commitment to renewable energy and reducing its carbon footprint. The Sere plant adds 100MW to the national power grid and contributes to saving nearly 6 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions over its 20 years' expected operating life, with average annual energy production of about 298,000MWh, enough to supply about 124,000 standard homes.
All 46 wind turbines have been erected and energised, and the construction of the new Skaapvlei substation and a 44km 132kV distribution line has been completed. The first wind turbine at the farm was erected in December 2013. The project took the first step towards the goal of synchronising the wind turbines to the grid when the first string of 7 turbines were energised in October 2014. Although Sere had been completely energised and feeding power to the grid since December 30, 2014, the first quarter of 2015 was used to ensure that the milestone of commercial operation is achieved.
There are reportedly issues with new renewable generators being attached to the grid. We asked Eskom if this is something that is being addressed.
“The increased grid capacity requirements, coupled with intermittent generation inherent in renewable sources of energy, requires Eskom to strategically strengthen the grid and build the necessary capacity to accommodate procurement of energy from IPPs.”
Eskom is strengthening major transmission stations and building new high voltage transmission lines to achieve these strategic objectives.
Eskom calls on all South Africans to pull together and use electricity sparingly.
“Businesses can do so by switching off non-essential lights and the efficient use of air-conditioners by keeping the room temperature at 23⁰C.”
By: Kristy Jooste