Why Eskom is cut­ting power

UN­PLANNED BREAK­DOWNS: STAGE 2 LOAD SHED­DING FOL­LOWED BY AN ES­CA­LA­TION TO STAGE 4

The Citizen (KZN) - - News - Hil­ton Tar­rant

Power util­ity is bat­tling a ‘con­strained and vul­ner­a­ble’ gen­er­a­tion fleet.

be­low the 9 500MW level. It also main­tains a 2 200MW re­serve mar­gin to pro­tect the grid.

When break­downs ex­ceed the 9 500MW level, it has to rely on emer­gency gen­er­a­tion re­sources, in­clud­ing pumped stor­age schemes and open cy­cle gas tur­bines, to en­sure that an ad­e­quate op­er­at­ing mar­gin is pre­served.

On Novem­ber 7/8, given the high lev­els of break­downs, it had to im­ple­ment overnight load shed­ding so that it could re­plen­ish its pumped stor­age schemes.

The util­ity is in­creas­ingly us­ing these schemes, which are net con­sumers of power, to gen­er­ate baseload power. Tra­di­tion­ally, pumped stor­age schemes are meant to op­er­ate as peak­ing plants only.

Along with this, Eskom is us­ing as much as 3 500MW of power from re­new­able en­ergy plants to sup­ple­ment its own gen­er­a­tion.

And it is re­ly­ing on units at the Medupi and Kusile power sta­tions that are not yet in com­mer­cial op­er­a­tion to pro­vide any­where from 900MW to 1 600MW of power daily.

If not enough has been done, new chief ex­ec­u­tive An­dre de Ruyter’s first few months are likely to be quite the bap­tism by fire.

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