Why Eskom is cutting power
UNPLANNED BREAKDOWNS: STAGE 2 LOAD SHEDDING FOLLOWED BY AN ESCALATION TO STAGE 4
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.