Eskom has more than 24GW of generating capacity unavailable for use, with more than 19GW of that figure not available due to plant breakdowns.
These breakdowns have plunged South Africa back into stage-6 load shedding, equal to the worst it’s been, and put the country on the edge of the worst power cuts in the country’s history as the utility takes a unit at the Koeberg nuclear power station offline.
Eskom, which escalated the stage of load shedding from an already elevated stage 4 on Wednesday morning to stage 6 from midday, said the cuts will continue at stage 6 until Friday. They’ll then be reduced to stage 5 going into the weekend.
It’s the usual story: breakdowns at Eskom’s unreliable coal-fired power stations and delays in returning units to service. On top of that, Eskom is again running low on diesel to power its emergency open-cycle gas turbines (OCTGs).
“Eskom has been forced to strictly preserve the remaining diesel for any extreme emergency situations such as multiple simultaneous trips of generators. The pumped-storage dam levels also need to be replenished,” it said.
Making matters worse, the state-owned utility will take a unit at Koeberg offline from Wednesday evening for refuelling and maintenance work. This, coupled with damage to a chimney at the Kusile power station – which has taken half the plant offline – will “further reduce available generation capacity and exacerbate the occurrence of load shedding over the next six to months”. – © 2022 NewsCentral Media