According to SAnews.gov.za Eskom says it plans to continue implementing the appropriate levels of planned maintenance to ensure long-term plant reliability.
“Eskom has not implemented load shedding for the past nine months and our plan is to continue implementing appropriate levels of planned maintenance to ensure long-term plant reliability,” it said on Tuesday.
In a statement following a two-day board of directors’ session, Eskom said the reduction in unplanned outages contributed to improvements of plant availability and the sharp reduction in the usage of open cycle gas turbines (OCGTs).
OCGT (diesel) usage declined by 53% between October 2015 and December 2015.
Eskom has decreased the usage of diesel from R800m to R40m in five months due to improved performance of its base-load fleet.
The utility will continue with its rigorous planned maintenance without implementing load shedding while also minimising usage of the OCGTs.
With regards to the Generation Sustainability Strategy, the utility aims to achieve 80% plant availability, 10% planned maintenance and 10% unplanned maintenance over the medium term.
The adherence to regular scheduled maintenance is managed through the Tetris planning tool, which schedules outages based on forecasted demand and maintenance requirements.
“A key aspect of this includes having a strict winter and summer maintenance budget that comprises 8,5GW for winter and 11.5GW for summer,” says Eskom.
New generating capacity
While working on the performance of the existing ageing fleet, Eskom has also fast tracked the building of new generating capacity.
On 6 March this year, Unit 3 of the Ingula Pumped Storage Scheme was synchronised to the national power grid, marking a key milestone towards the full commercial operation of the unit ahead of the scheduled deadline of January 2017.
Unit 3 is the first of the four units of the Ingula Pumped Storage Scheme to be connected to the national grid. Once completed, all four units of Ingula will produce a total of 1,332 MW.
This, said Eskom, will go a long way to meeting the country’s rising electricity demand.
“Once completed in the next five years, our capacity expansion programme, which is the largest in the company’s history, will increase our generation capacity by 17,384MW, transmission lines by 9,756km and substation capacity by 42,470MVA.
This will enable us to provide security of electricity supply to South African homes and businesses, powering economic expansion and extending electricity to millions of households who currently rely on other fuel sources for domestic cooking and heating.”
Since inception in 2005, the capacity expansion programme so far added 7,031MW of generation capacity, 6,048km of transmission lines and 31 590 MVA of substation capacity.
In addition, the testing before synchronisation of Unit 4 of Ingula has already started. The major construction work on both Unit 2 and Unit 1 has also been completed, and work on the outstanding electrical cabling and pipework is being accelerated.
“Eskom continues to execute its build programme that will bring much-needed power to support South Africa’s economic growth,” it said.
In February, Unit 1 of the Kusile power station successfully completed factory acceptance tests, which is an important milestone towards the synchronisation of the unit.
The unit is expected to be commercially operational in July 2018.
Meanwhile, Medupi’s Unit 5 completed its factory acceptance tests in December 2015, and is expected to come into full commercial operation by March 2018.
The Majuba Rail Project is expected to be completed by December 2017. Once commissioned, the security of coal supply through logistics solutions at both the Majuba and Tutuka power stations will transport approximately 21 million tonnes of coal per year by rail.
The Majuba Rail Project is a component of the Eskom Road to Rail Initiative, with the construction of a railway line that links the Majuba Power Station to the main coal railway hub in Ermelo, Mpumalanga.
The 68km corridor is the first large greenfield freight-rail infrastructure project to be carried out in South Africa since 1986 and will be operated by Transnet Freight Rail.
Eskom has successfully completed 5,620 self-funded electrification connections as well as 1 080 farm dweller connections during the course of the 2014/15 financial year.
In addition, together with Department of Energy, Eskom has connected more than 4,6 million households to the national grid since 1991.
Due to a stable power system, Eskom has also increased its electricity exports to neighbouring states, whose hydroelectric dam has been adversely affected by the drought.
The power utility is also playing a critical role in skills development and economic empowerment through the Eskom Development Foundation.
The foundation is responsible for the execution of Eskom’s corporate social investment (CSI) strategy.
The company has established the Eskom Contractor Academy initiative as part of its enterprise development programme with the objectives being to support skills development, which enhances job creation and contributes to the alleviation of poverty.
“The academy started off as a pilot programme in 2008 and has since grown significantly. To date, we have completed 73 academies and almost 1,000 contractors have been trained successfully. Over the last three years, 518 contractors were trained from all nine provinces, with the majority (322) being the youth,” says Eskom.
Hendrina coal contract
Eskom said that until recently, Glencore was the owner of the Optimum Coal Mine and had a long-term contract to supply coal to Hendrina until 2018.
However, late last year Glencore ran into financial difficulties and was placed under business rescue. Glencore then decided to sell the mine to Oakbay Resources.
During the business rescue process, Eskom emphasised that it didn’t matter who Glencore and/or the business rescuers would sell the mine to, all it was interested in was to ensure that:
- The contract remains valid until 2018;
- The price per tonne remains R150;
- The agreed volumes or quantity of coal per annum remain unchanged;
- The agreed quality of coal remains unchanged and
- The R2bn penalty imposed on Optimum will remain in force and payable.
“None of these conditions have changed. Of critical importance is to note that Eskom has issued summons against Optimum for failing to supply coal that meets the quality specifications of the Hendrina power station. Once the business rescue process has been finalised, the legal proceedings will continue to run their course,” says Eskom.
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