Load shedding: One of Eskom's newest multi-billion rand power plants is defective

accreditation

One of South Africa’s newest power plants, designed to supply the grid during peak-use periods, is defective and has been limited to operate at lower capacity.

The deepest power cuts in more than a decade imposed by cash-strapped, state-owned Eskom this month reduced the chances of the continent’s most-industrialised economy posting a stronger recovery from last year’s recession.

Eskom is battling to meet demand and is considered one of the country’s biggest risks.

The Ingula pumped-storage project, a hydropower plant, was completed two years ago as part of the government’s program to boost generation capacity, was designed to provide at least 1 332 megawatts during periods of peak demand.

However, two of its four units haven’t been operating as they are in a “defects-correction period,” Eskom said in an emailed response to questions.

“A defect has been identified on all four units and registered with the contractor,” which is Voith Siemens Hydro–Voith Fuji Hydro Consortium, the utility said.

The units have been “derated” to 245 megawatts when multiple units are running, it said. That means that when all units are operational, the plant is running at least 25% below its installed capacity.

The country struggled through 10 days of power outages in March after failures at aging power plants, defects in new plants and a cyclone that curbed electricity imports from Mozambique slashed supply.

A solution at the Ingula plant “is currently in the development stage,” the utility said.

Ingula generates electricity as water travels from an upper reservoir, through turbines and into a lower reservoir, from where it is pumped back up.

The cumulative cost of the project was R29.3 billion compared with an estimated R21.8bn in 2010, according to Eskom’s annual reports.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Rand - Dollar
16.19
-1.4%
Rand - Pound
21.58
+0.6%
Rand - Euro
18.33
+0.5%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.57
+0.2%
Rand - Yen
0.14
+0.8%
Gold
1,792.01
-0.0%
Silver
23.16
+0.1%
Palladium
1,751.49
0.0%
Platinum
955.50
0.0%
Brent Crude
72.72
-11.6%
Top 40
62,411
-2.6%
All Share
68,615
-2.8%
Resource 10
64,074
-2.5%
Industrial 25
92,909
-1.3%
Financial 15
12,995
-6.8%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Company Snapshot