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Eskom turning corner on load shedding severity: Ramokgopa

‘We are bringing back additional generating capacity’

Electricity minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa gave an update on the implementation of the energy action plan on Sunday, saying the energy generating situation has improved with the return of Kusile's unit 3
CONFIDENT: Electricity minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa gave an update on the implementation of the energy action plan on Sunday, saying the energy generating situation has improved with the return of Kusile's unit 3
Image: Jairus Mmutle/GCIS/Handout via Reuters

The return to service of the Kusile power station’s unit 3 signalled the start of turning the corner in reducing levels of load shedding, electricity minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa said on Sunday.

Ramokgopa gave an update to the media on the implementation of the energy action plan.

He said the return of Kusile unit 3 changed the complexion of the game as Eskom strove to reduce load shedding.

“I am very happy to indicate that we are now beginning to turn the corner in relation to additional capacity,” he said.

“As I indicated in the last briefing, the Kusile units are going to be indispensable to the resolution of this problem and, in the short term, to help us reduce the intensity of load shedding.”

Unit 3 is one of the three Kusile units put out of commission in October last year when the flue gas desulfurisation (FGD) unit, a chimney-like structure, partly collapsed.

He said the first of three units that went out of service were decommissioned as a result of theFGD unit to reduce the amount of sulphur content that is emitted into the atmosphere. 

“As a result of the failures of that unit, we had to discontinue units 1, 2 ,3 at Kusile to ensure that we are able to address issues of safety, to ensure that we don’t exceed our licence emissions parameters,” he said.

The units were discontinued in October last year

This contributed to the strain on the national grid, which was more acute during winter.

Ramokgopa said before the FGD unit was restored, Eskom needed to do a root cause analysis of the walls of the chimney that was meant to release emissions into the atmosphere.

“Kusile unit 3, one of the three units, is now producing 550MW and we will continue to ramp it up so that we get to 712MW up to 800MW.

“Now we are beginning to turn the corner in this instance, we have that additional generating capacity that we are bringing back.”

Ramokgopa said Eskom would be returning the other units to service during October or in early November.

“Those units are coming back and of course the three units are going to reduce the unplanned capacity loss factor.

“The rate at which the units are failing, the units that are offline we are going to reduce that by a maximum just on these three units – a maximum of 2,400MW going into the immediate future.

“The rate at which they were able to return this unit ahead of time is impressive.

“The team of men and women at Kusile had sleepless nights, making sure that we are able to return these units safely, they are able to perform ahead of time,” he said.

Eskom announced on Sunday afternoon that load shedding has been suspended until Monday afternoon. – TimesLIVE


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