Eskom working to increase energy capacity
Eskom says it is doing everything in its power to ensure that more generation capacity is added to South Africa’s ailing power system.
This is according to the power utility chief executive, Andre de Ruyter, who was addressing media on the current challenges facing the electricity supplier.
De Ruyter said the power utility’s request for proposals for the leasing of Eskom land for independent power producers (IPPs), who wish to develop renewable energy generation sites, has yielded positive responses.
“We are resolved to do everything in our power not to stand in the way of adding new capacity to the grid by whatever means possible. We have… made available land in Mpumalanga and… we received offers for 1 800MW on 18 parcels of land.
“We will make available a further 2 000ha of land for similar leases by August and we anticipate that this will add another 220MW [to the grid],” he said.
De Ruyter said the power utility is also pushing to open more of its land to IPPs to further boost generation capacity.
“We have identified further parcels of land with existing grid access that we will be making available to the tune of some 30 000ha so this is quite a large extent of land spread throughout a number of provinces… in the Northern Cape, Eastern Cape and Free State. These will be released in phases… in order to allow IPPs to get themselves into gear to make those bids.
“We anticipate that this will rapidly accelerate the generation of more capacity to the grid,” he said.
The chief executive said the power utility is also working to ensure that grid access protocols are streamlined in order to quicken the process of bringing additional generation capacity online.
“We have halved the time for us to afford grid access from an initial 210 days to 105 days from the first cost estimate letter to the acceptance of the budget quote. This is a good achievement but we are not resting on our laurels. We want to further improve and streamline that process,” he said.
De Ruyter said despite these efforts, this capacity will not be readily available.
“This new generation capacity will not come online as quickly as we would have liked to but we anticipate that over the coming 18 to 24 months, we will see substantial new capacity additions based on our land lease programmes, as well as bid window five, bid window six and other interventions that are under the control of the IPP office,” he said.
Meanwhile, the power utility has announced that Chief Nuclear Officer, Riedewaan Barkadien, will be leaving Eskom at the end of this month and will be replaced in the interim by long standing nuclear executive Keith Featherstone.
Also at Koeberg Power Station, General Manager, Nomawethu Mtwebana, is expected to join the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) as a reverse loanee for the next year and will be filled by senior manager, Mahesh Valaitham, in an acting role.
Eskom Chief Operating Officer, Jan Oberholzer, said the power utility retains enough capacity to ensure that the power station continues to run smoothly while recruitment processes are underway.
“I wish to assure the people of South Africa and fellow Guardians at Eskom that the organisation has access to sufficiently experienced and competent executive team to continue ensuring a safe and smooth operation at Africa’s only nuclear power station,” Oberholzer said. – SAnews.gov.za