Eskom's Majuba power stationEskom has addressed recent load shedding concerns by increasing generating capacity at the Majuba Power Station and pushing the Sere wind farm closer to commercial production.

The power station is now at 1 400MW, and more units from Majuba are due to be synchronised to the grid later today with the potential of increasing generating capacity to 3 200MW.

Majuba power station ramps up production

“The Recovery Programme at the Majuba Power Station is proceeding well and has far exceeded our expectations. Teams are working 24/7 moving coal from stock piles to the conveyer belts which are the link to the generating units,” Eskom said in a recent statement.

The wet weather poses a challenge, especially at Majuba, given that some of the coal handling is taking place out in the open. To address this, Eskom has implemented a wet coal management strategy to ensure that the wet coal risk is reduced in its other power stations. “It is however not possible to neutralise this risk completely, especially over periods of prolonged, high rainfall,” the company warned.

The dam levels at the peaking power stations which use water to generate electricity are depleting, but projections are that if things stay as they are, the probability of load shedding in the near future is low. The weekend will be used to restore operating reserves and dam levels at Eskom’s pumped storage stations.

“While we will make every effort to avoid load shedding, we are hopeful that by applying these measures, coupled with support from all electricity consumers, we will achieve the required load reduction necessary to protect the national grid,” Eskom said.

Eskom’s Sere wind farm moves closer to commercial operation

The construction of the Sere wind farm has reached new heights with the energising of the transformers of the first string of seven wind turbine generators, a move that paved the way for Eskom to proceed with the final commissioning of these turbines.

Sere wind farm is Eskom’s first large-scale renewable energy project, and forms part of the company’s commitment to renewable energy and reducing its carbon footprint.

Eskom’s Senior General Manager for Renewables, Ayanda Nakedi, said: “We have now synchronised the first seven wind turbines to the national grid, adding 4.4MW as part of the final testing and commissioning process. The achievement of this milestone is in line with our target date of December 2014 and we remain on track to be in full commercial operation by end March 2015.”

Wind conditions have been favourable, and the Sere wind farm as recently contributing 15.7MW to the national grid. Once completed, the plant will add 100MW to the national grid and contribute to saving nearly 6-million tons of greenhouse gas emissions over the 20 years expected operating life, with average annual energy production of about 298 000 MWh, enough to supply about 124 000 standard homes.

The R2.5-billion wind farm will also help diversify Eskom’s energy mix and contribute to South Africa’s objective of meeting 42% of the country’s power demand with renewable energy sources by 2030.

Eskom CE Tshediso Matona said: “My thanks go out to the entire team for enabling us to reach this most significant of milestones. This milestone has been achieved through close co-ordination between various departments in Eskom and our contractors. This is evidence of what we can achieve as an organisation when we work together. I am sure that the team will continue with the same drive and commitment until all 46 wind turbines are in operation.”

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