Eskom halts energy supply from wind producers as demand falls

Eskom will temporarily halt the procurement of electricity from some independent power producers during the country's 21-day lockdown.

Spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha said the suspension only applies to wind energy producers and is a result of a reduction in demand.

There has been a reduction in demand of some 7 500 MW since the beginning of the lockdown period.

"At this point, Eskom has a lot more generating capacity than needed, due to the lockdown," he said, adding that the producers would be compensated for the downtime. This means their contracts would be extended by the number of days lost.

Mantshantsha explained that wind producers supply power to the grid in the early hours of the morning, which coincides with the low demand. Each supplier may be curtailed for a few hours a day over the lockdown period.

Wind energy is part of Eskom's energy mix, and the power producer had relied on renewable energy sources to keep the lights on as it battled various supply challenges. 

On Monday, Eskom said it will be using the lockdown period to conduct essential maintenance on its plants, as high consumers have slowed or halted operations.

The company had been implementing load shedding since last year, due to operational constraints.

Large electricity users, such as mines and smelters have shut down, while many companies have instructed employees to work from home, reducing pressure on the grid.

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