Steenbras hydro saves City from load shedding

Electricity plant - Hydro electric power plant. (Shutterstock)
Electricity plant - Hydro electric power plant. (Shutterstock)

Cape Town – The Steenbras hydro-electric scheme has helped to offset load shedding in Cape Town, the City said on Tuesday.

The Steenbras hydro-electric dam was primarily used during peak demand when buying electricity from Eskom was expensive.

According to the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Utility Services, Ernest Sonnenberg, the process could also result in excess electricity being generated outside peak periods.

“This spare capacity can be used to offset load-shedding in Stage 1 or reduce a stage, for example from Stage 2 to Stage 1,” he said.

On Monday Eskom implemented stage 1 load shedding after 5 weeks without the need for power cuts.

Eskom warned over the weekend that its daily supply from the Cahora Bassa hydroelectric scheme in Mozambique would be reduced by more than half to 650 MW from Monday.

According to Eskom the power system would be tight, particularly over the weekday evening peak periods from Tuesday 15 to Friday 18 September and said it would utilise its emergency reserves to augment the capacity shortfall as a result of the planned outage.

The maintenance was expected to be completed on Sunday, 20 September and the hydroelectric scheme was expected to be back on full power on Monday, 21 September.

Eskom also warned of higher electricity consumption during the day as the weather begins to warm up.

It called on all electricity users to continue using electricity sparingly and especially decreased usage of air-conditioners, geysers and pool pumps to reduce the risk of load shedding.

The City was also investigating the feasibility of implementing its own demand-response system, whereby businesses could be contracted to reduce demand immediately as opposed to having to implement load-shedding.

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