Excess electricity capacity to power SA’s economic growth

Online since 1.03.2017 • Filed under Energy • From Issue 5 - March 2017 - August 2017 page(s) 30-31
Excess electricity capacity to power SA’s economic growth

Eskom’s improved generation performance and new build programme have delivered excess capacity for the country.

South Africa’s power system remains stable thanks to Eskom’s rigorous plant maintenance that has seen an improvement in plant availability – which has moved to 77.3% from 70.3% leading to 3 103MW being added to the national grid. The improvement in generation plant availability has re-enabled Eskom to dispatch the least cost stations ahead of the more expensive stations. Projections for the year end show that there will be a cost saving of R238 million.

New capacity will fuel the growth of the South African economy. Since the build programme started in 2005, Eskom has added 8 030MW to the national grid and, over the next six years, a further 9 103MW capacity will be added from the Ingula pumped storage scheme that will be fully commissioned later this year, Medupi that will be fully commissioned in 2020, and Kusile in 2022.

Eskom currently has a surplus of 5 600MW at peak thanks to improved plant performance and new additional capacity that meets any increase in demand until 2021. Eskom’s Chairman, Baldwin Ngubeni, comments: ‘Our system status update follows on the backdrop of positive interim results for Eskom, but also follows the departure of Brian Molefe – an extraordinary leader whose legacy will be that of turning Eskom around.

‘Our system status update reflects the vision, dedication and hard work of thousands of men and women at Eskom and its Interim Group Chief Executive, Matshela Koko. Through their tenacity and capabilities, the company has turned things around to deliver solid and sustainable financial and operational performance, positively impacting the South African economy.’

Koko adds: ‘On average, surplus capacity every day during the peak for this financial year is the size of Matla Power Station (3 600MW), this excludes a 2 000MW operational reserve. Eskom will continue to focus its efforts on increasing electricity demand and ensuring sustainable revenue collection.’

Eskom has increased cross border sales by 25% and aims to further increase domestic and export sales.

Koko also highlights gains made with the electrification programme. ‘In the past nine months, Eskom has connected 162 104 new customers to the grid, with 150 747 customers energised and already using electricity. We hope to electrify all households in South African in the next two years,’ he insists.

Other highlights include the decreased usage of open cycle gas turbines (OCGTs) thanks to improved generation availability. The OCGT load factor for the second quarter of the financial year was 0.06% and for the third quarter, 0.11%. ‘We expect minimal use of Eskom OCGTs to manage the system for the rest of the financial year,’ Koko notes.

The Distribution division continues to exhibit sound technical performance and has exceeded the targeted installation for smart meters for the third quarter, with actuals of 17 561 installations versus a target of 12 000 installations.

Some of the key challenges facing the distribution industry are huge under-investment in electricity infrastructure, high energy losses as a result of inadequate revenue management systems, and some utilities consistently defaulting on their negotiated payment arrangements because of systemic failures.

‘The effects of these shortcomings are detrimental to the economic growth of the country and addressing these challenges is key to ensuring future financial sustainability. We wish to acknowledge cooperation with Premiers and MEC’s in helping Eskom to find lasting solutions to the distribution challenges,’ says Koko.

‘Since the start of the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act (PAJA) process in November 2016, Eskom has managed to collect R979 million from the municipalities. This is testament of the ability of South Africans to work together during tough times,’ he maintains.

The Transmission division has had zero major incidents in terms of system performance. There were high levels of maintenance execution with 98.8% of planned work executed. There has also been excellent line fault performance achieved year-to-date.

‘Eskom’s power system has progressed to a position of surplus capacity that will positively impact the SA economy. The availability of excess capacity allows Eskom to meet demand more cheaply than through the purchases of renewable energy. As a priority, both domestic and export sales must be further increased. Eskom will continue to focus efforts on the increasing growth in demand in electricity and ensuring sustainable revenue collection,’ Koko concludes. For more information, visit www.eskom.co.za.

Issue 5 - March 2017 - August 2017

Issue 5 - March 2017 - August 2017

This article was featured on page 30-31 of SABI Magazine Issue 5 - March 2017 - August 2017 .

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