Eskom in a bind as rain leads to wet-coal risk

The Star Early Edition - - BUSINESS REPORT -

ESKOM’S be­lea­guered Ma­juba sta­tion in Mpumalanga, in the news re­cently after the col­lapse of a coal silo, is strug­gling to main­tain gen­er­a­tion ca­pac­ity owing to wet weather. In a sys­tems up­date yes­ter­day, Eskom said gen­er­at­ing ca­pac­ity was at about 1 600 megawatts as the sta­tion was fac­ing wet coal chal­lenges given that some of the coal han­dling was tak­ing place out in the open. “The sys­tem is ex­pected to be tight over the evening peaks for the next few days as a re­sult of the con­tin­ued nippy and cloudy weather con­di­tions, which are fore­casted for the next few days, as well as the loss of ad­di­tional units at our power sta­tions as a re­sult of tech­ni­cal faults,” the state-owned power util­ity said last night. It said it had im­ple­mented a wet coal man­age­ment strat­egy to en­sure that the wet-coal risk was re­duced at other power sta­tions. “It is, how­ever, not pos­si­ble to neu­tralise this risk com­pletely, es­pe­cially over pe­ri­ods of pro­longed high rain­fall,” it said. The col­lapse of a 10-ton coal silo at Ma­juba ear­lier this month left the coun­try open to load shed­ding as the sys­tem be­came too strained to cope. – Staff Writer

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