LifeStyle & Health

Load shedding crisis as Eskom breakdowns hit new record – The Citizen

On Saturday it had already turn out to be obvious simply how a lot hassle Eskom’s producing unit was in.

At that night’s peak – throughout the Easter lengthy weekend when electrical energy demand was greater than 5 000 megawatts (MW) decrease than it might’ve been on a weekday – the utility may solely present 27 633MW of capability. And this included the usage of 11 open cycle fuel generators (OCGTs). Renewables contributed simply lower than 1 500MW.

The writing was on the wall.

The utility was compelled to implement Stage 2 load shedding abruptly on Sunday afternoon when breakdowns hit vital ranges.

What it refers to as “unplanned breakdowns” totalled 17 018MW – a file excessive.

Keep in mind Stage 6 load shedding?

The earlier worst publicly disclosed degree was 16 700MW in Could final yr.

Earlier than that, it was 15 921MW in January 2020, roughly a month after it was compelled into unprecedented Stage 6 load shedding (the place outages have been seemingly across the 17 000MW degree however weren’t disclosed on the time).

Added to the 17 000MW on Saturday was deliberate upkeep, which totalled 5 474MW.

Only a month in the past, it had forecast that deliberate upkeep would complete 6 249MW within the final week (larger than the 5 114MW forecast at the beginning of the yr).

ALSO SEE: Eskom burned by way of ‘R250m a day’ in diesel, and nonetheless couldn’t preserve lights on


Eskom has consistently been rolling over upkeep that it has scheduled because it battles to maintain technology from the coal fleet at sufficient ranges.

This deferral of upkeep has a knock-on impact: the coal vegetation turn out to be extra unreliable, forcing it to run working items more durable which, in flip, impacts their reliability. These upkeep ‘payments’ ultimately come due, as we’re experiencing.

ALSO SEE: Eskom to cut back on deliberate upkeep throughout the winter season

Of the 22 492MW offline (deliberate and unplanned), Koeberg Unit 2 (offline for refuelling and upkeep) accounts for 970MW. Virtually all the remainder (barring maybe some capability on the Ingula pumped storage scheme which has skilled some challenges as a consequence of excessive dam ranges) is Eskom’s core coal fleet.

Simply greater than 20 000MW of coal technology capability is offline (together with Medupi Unit 4, which exploded in August final yr and accounts for 720MW).

The utility has 38 000MW of complete coal technology capability, which suggests 53% was offline on Sunday.

The previous week …

Over the previous week, it has used an infinite quantity of diesel in addition to emergency measures resembling interruptible load provide and digital energy provide (the place it cuts energy to massive prospects, primarily the aluminium smelters) simply to maintain the lights on. And that was along with load shedding from Monday night till Friday at 05:00.

Night peak
Mon Apr 11 Tues Apr 12 Wed Apr 13 Thurs Apr 14 Fri Apr 15 Sat Apr 16 Solar Apr 17
Eskom capability (MW) 29 928 28 637 27 919 27 519 27 323 27 633 26 717
OCGTs used 26 13 16 5 11 20
Renewables (MW) 1 054 765 924 1 581 1 367 1 448 619
Digital energy station (MW) 230 203 158 153
Interruptible load provide (MW) 897
Load shedding (MW) 2 082 2 485 2 056 1 831 1 818
Complete demand (MW) 32 749 30 878 29 982 27 373 24 726 27 109 28 873

Its obtainable technology deteriorated all through the final week and reached simply 26 717 MW on Sunday night.

Current information from Eskom reveals additionally it is reliant on between 540MW and 720MW of non-commercial technology from Kusile Unit 4 which is about to be absolutely commissioned in July. That unit has supplied energy on the peak since March 21 (till not less than April 10, the date to which Eskom has disclosed detailed system capability).

Eskom says “the ability system continues to be fragile” and “unpredictable” and warned on Sunday that “any additional deterioration in technology capability could require larger phases of loadshedding”. At the moment, Stage 2 load shedding is in place till 05:00 on Wednesday.

It’s price highlighting too that miners at Sibanye-Stillwater’s gold operations stay on strike and the mines are due to this fact not working.

Think about the state of affairs we’d be in with these massive customers of energy operating at full capability.

Keep in mind, peak winter demand is round 33 000MW (we reached 32 749MW at 18:10 final Monday and it’s not precisely freezing but). Koeberg Unit 2 is scheduled to return to service in June which is able to present some headroom (over 900MW).

Till then, brace yourselves.

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