summer Eskom: South Africa has been grappling with a severe and prolonged energy crisis, resulting in frequent power outages or “load shedding. “summer Eskom , the state-owned power utility, has been struggling to maintain a stable power supply amidst various challenges.
This summer Eskom aims not to breach Stage 4 load shedding
Eskom’s Strategy to Mitigate Load Shedding During Summer
Eskom is determined to reduce load shedding during the upcoming summer season, aiming to limit it to Stage 4. To achieve this, the utility plans to restrict unplanned breakdowns to 14,500 MW. This approach coincides with the high-maintenance season, during which planned outages of approximately 7,000 MW will be implemented.
Critical Role of Kusile Power Stations
The addition of 2,880 MW from the Kusile power stations is considered critical to bridging the supply and demand gap in the coming months and creating space for maintenance activities. Reducing the reliance on expensive diesel-fueled open-cycle gas turbines (OCGTs), which were heavily used during winter to mitigate load shedding, is also a key objective.
Challenges with Koeberg Nuclear Station
Koeberg nuclear station faces challenges as Unit 2 will be taken out of service in early November when Unit 1 resumes operations. Unit 1 had been offline for an extended period to replace its steam generators, which is necessary for securing a license to operate for an additional 20 years.
Uncertainty remains regarding the Long-Term Operation license for Koeberg, which expires in July next year, as well as whether the regulator will separate licenses for Unit 1 and Unit 2, reflecting their different commissioning dates.
Progress and Teething Issues at Other Stations
Eskom reports progress in turnaround efforts at various power stations, including Duvha and Majuba. However, Kendal power station still requires attention. Eskom remains optimistic that Unit 3 at Kusile can be commissioned once all environmental approvals are secured, with a revised return-to-service schedule for Kusile units.
Load Shedding Scenarios for Summer
Eskom’s transmission head, Segomoco Scheepers, outlines load shedding scenarios for the summer season. If breakdowns can be restricted to below 14,500 MW, Eskom load shedding will occur on 116 days until the end of March, with an intensity of Stage 4 or lower.
However, if breakdowns increase to 16,000 MW or 17,500 MW, the number of load shedding days will rise, with intensity reaching between Stage 5 and Stage 7. The goal is to minimize load shedding while addressing the challenges faced by Eskom’s power generation and transmission systems.