Home Opinion and Features Harsher times ahead as Eskom works to fix its systems

Harsher times ahead as Eskom works to fix its systems

163

Implementation of Eskom’s National Treasury-sponsored report, which the utility has claimed to have arrested the decline of the energy availability factor, might yet bring tears as a huge amount of power would have to be curtailed.

Energy expert Chris Yelland said government has been sleeping on the report, which indicates that Eskom has yet to curtail 13,000MW with urgent plant shutdowns and maintenance that still has to be implemented. File picture: Bloomberg

IMPLEMENTATION of Eskom’s National Treasury-sponsored report, which the utility has claimed to have arrested the decline of the energy availability factor (EAF), might yet bring tears as a huge amount of power would have to be curtailed.

In a statement, Eskom’s chief executive for generation, Bheki Nxumalo, said positive results from the assessment have included design-related issues at Medupi and Kusile power stations, which have been addressed through modifications.

He said this has improved maintenance and operations and significantly improved plant availability.

Nxumalo said a total of 3,510MW was recovered through concerted efforts focusing on priority power stations with each power station having its own detailed recovery plan, which are centrally monitored.

This includes synchronisation of Kusile Unit 6 into the grid, while the return of Medupi Unit 4 and the Koeberg Unit 2 Long-Term Operation project are also on track. Combined, these three units will add 2,500MW to the grid by year-end.

Energy expert Chris Yelland said government had been sleeping on the report, which indicates that Eskom has yet to curtail 13,000MW with urgent plant shut downs and maintenance that still has to be implemented.

According to Yelland, the Medupi and Matimba sites share a raw water treatment plant, which urgently requires at least maintenance and upgrading.

He said if the existing plant fails, 12 units – 9,800MW – would come off grid.

“The current raw water supply is not sufficient to install the wet flue gas desulfurisation plant that needs to be built for the Medupi and Matimba sites by 2025, in order to meet legislative requirements.” Yelland quoted the report.

He said the water treatment plant at Kendal is in a very poor condition and needs urgent maintenance and refurbishment. If the existing plant fails, six units – 3,840MW – would be off the grid.”

Yelland said the report specified that the achievable capacity [of Kusile Power Station] is limited, due to the incomplete coal handling system, restrictions in water supply and the ash discharge situation.

“These restrictions result in a very high risk that the Kusile site cannot be operated with more than three units at any one time …

“The Medupi and Matimba sites share the raw water treatment plant. This plant urgently requires at least maintenance and upgrading. If the existing plant fails, 12 units – 9,800MW – would go off grid. Moreover, the current raw water supply is not sufficient to install the wet flue gas desulfurisation plant that needs to be built for the Medupi and Matimba sites by 2025, in order to meet legislative requirements.”

Nxumalo said the Generation Operational Recovery Plan addresses various operational observations at power stations.

These initiatives focus on improving people, plant and process performance. Regular progress updates are shared with the public every two weeks by the Minister of Electricity (MoE) and Eskom executives.

He said a total of 3,510MW was recovered through concerted efforts focusing on priority power stations. Each power station has its own detailed recovery plan, and these are centrally monitored to ensure successful implementation of the actions.

He said as part of the Generation Operational Recovery Plan and a conscious decision to address reliability challenges at the power stations, Planned Capacity Loss Factor (planned maintenance) was increased during the summer period in 2023 to an average of 8,000MW.

Nxumalo said the highest level of planned maintenance was performed between December 2023 and January 2024, reaching an average of 18% of the generation capacity.

“We are thankful to the National Treasury for commissioning the report and for the debt relief, which has made funds available for much-needed capital to invest in planned maintenance, restore energy availability, and invest in other key projects across all divisions,” he said.

– BUSINESS REPORT

Previous articleMTN faces massive drop in profit due to Nigeria’s currency devaluation
Next articleTransnet finalises partnership with Philippines port operator to manage Durban’s Pier 2