No load shedding expected this weekend

Eskom Chief Executive André de Ruyter says the power utility does not expect to implement any load shedding this weekend.

This after the country was subjected to load shedding for most of this week including the longer and more frequent Stage Four.

“The load forecast for peak this evening is 27 198MW which does leave us with a slight shortfall which we will be able to make up with pump storage and diesel generation capacity.

“We also have 1250MW of units currently out that are returning to service before evening peak so that will significantly reduce the load on our open cycle gas turbines [OCGTs] tonight,” he said on Friday.

Planned load losses in the system amount to 6 659 MW and unplanned load losses amount to 11250MW.

De Ruyter said although some generation units are at high risk, this is not expected to impact Eskom’s ability to keep the lights on over the weekend.

“These [high risk units] are at Duvha [power station] which still has that high pressure heater leak…that’s about 575MW at risk and then a boiler tube leak at Kriel [power station] which is about 120MW at risk. So just under 900MW at risk of an immediate trip.

“That risk, we think, is manageable given the healthy state of our reserves and our dams are still looking very good…and our diesel capacity is also looking solid at the moment. So the outlook for the weekend is good…of course we will continue with system updates whenever there’s a need to inform the public about what is going on,” he said.

The Chief Executive added that Eskom is currently using nine gas turbines to produce electricity which in total consume at least 17 000 litres of diesel per minute.

“Diesel [turbines] are not intended to run at high load factors…but due to generation constraints, we currently have these units operating in order to make up for the shortfall in generation,” he said.

De Ruyter explained that more load shedding is experienced during the summer months because it is a period where the power utility conducts more maintenance.

“This is precisely in order to make available more capacity in winter when demand is higher.

“Second, the profile of demand during demand is very different. We have a very pronounced evening peak, which is quite short. Whereas in summer, there is a sustained high off-take of the demand on the system and that result in the units having to run harder for longer…that then tends to expose some of our units to more challenges,” he said.

Source: South African Government News Agency

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