Eskom Rotational Power: Despite ongoing efforts to address energy challenges in South Africa, Eskom, the country’s power utility, has cautioned that higher stages of rotational power cuts may continue during the upcoming summer season.
Eskom Anticipates Continued Rotational Power Cuts Through Summer Season
This warning comes even as Eskom has taken steps to bring several generation units back online. This article discusses Eskom’s challenges and efforts to manage load shedding.
Energy Availability Factor (EAF) Concerns
- Eskom currently faces issues related to its Energy Availability Factor (EAF), which measures a plant’s capability to supply power to the electrical grid. The EAF is around 55%, significantly below the 65% target for this financial year.
- Load shedding has been a daily occurrence from April 1 to August 31 due to inadequate generation capacity.
Stage 6 Load Shedding and Past Challenges
- Eskom implemented Stage 6 load shedding for 39 out of 153 winter days, with outages ranging from Stage 3 to Stage 4.
- The highest intensity of load shedding occurred in May due to high demand and increased unplanned outages, followed by April 2023 due to a combination of planned and unplanned outages.
Eskom’s Efforts to Contain Load Shedding
- Eskom’s acting group CEO, Calib Cassim, stated the goal of minimizing load shedding and not exceeding Stage 4 by managing unplanned load losses within the 14,500 MW scenario for the 2023 summer season.
- However, Cassim cautioned that Eskom cannot rule out the possibility of higher load shedding stages, especially if unplanned outages worsen.
Three Scenarios for Load Shedding
- Eskom outlined three main scenarios to manage load shedding during the summer season. If unplanned outages stay below 14,500 MW, load shedding should be limited to Stage 4.
- If breakdowns exceed this level, load shedding stages will also increase, potentially reaching Stage 6.
- In a worst-case scenario, with unplanned outages reaching 17,500 MW, load shedding could escalate to Stage 7.
Increase in Available Generation
- To address these challenges, Eskom is working to increase available generation, particularly during the summer season.
- Plans include adding 2,880 MW from Kusile units and 720 MW from Unit 5 synchronization.
- Eskom is also making progress in improving generation plant performance, with several power stations achieving consistent EAF performance above 85%.
Outlook for Koeberg Units
- Eskom anticipates the return of Koeberg Unit 1 on November 3, following delays related to steam generator replacements.
- However, Koeberg Unit 2 is scheduled for a long-term operation outage starting on November 7.
Despite improvements and efforts to boost generation capacity, Eskom warns of the possibility of persistent load shedding during the upcoming summer season. The power utility continues to work on increasing available generation and addressing plant performance issues to mitigate the impact of load shedding on South Africa’s electricity supply.