SA's worsening power cuts laid bare in CSIR loadshedding data report

2020 had a total of 859 hours of outage, the highest since 2015 when the duration was 852 hours. The first half of this year has already seen 650 hours of outages

The year 2020 was the most intensive load-shedding year, according to the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
The year 2020 was the most intensive load-shedding year, according to the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
Image: 123RF/choneschones

The year 2020 was the most intensive load-shedding year in five years, according to the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

In its update for the first half of 2021, the CSIR said 2020 had a total of 859 hours of outages and 1,798 Gigawatt hours (GWh) of energy shed.

This is the highest calculation since 2015 when the duration of power outages was 852 hours.

“The H1-2021 statistics showed that system demand increased by 5% in H1-2021 relative to H1-2020 but was 2.2% lower than H1-2019,” said CSIR spokesperson David Mandaha.

SA, Mandaha said, experienced load-shedding for 650 hours in the first half of 2021, while 963 GWh of estimated energy was shed.

This is 76% of the total load-shedding experienced during 2020.

“The extent of load-shedding experienced was largely driven by a declining energy availability factor (EAF) of the existing coal fleet where overall the EAF was 61.3% for H1-2021 (relative to 65% in 2020 and 66.9% in 2019).

“A concerning shift of the unplanned outage component of the EAF has also been highlighted where unplanned outages of up to 15,300MW were experienced and were greater than 10,000MW for more than 80% of H1-2021.”

Coal, the council said, continued to dominate the SA energy mix, contributing 81.8% to the national energy mix in H1-2021 as an additional coal unit at Kusile power station entered into commercial operation. 

“The contribution from renewable energy sources totalled almost 11% (solar PV, wind, hydro, concentrating solar power, others) while zero-carbon energy sources contributed 14.3% (renewables and nuclear),” Mandaha said.

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