ESKOM LOADSHEDDING ALERT
The power system is severely constrained today due to unforeseen technical problems at power stations. As a result Eskom has had to go into stage 1 load shedding as of 11:00. This will continue until 22:00 this evening.
South Africa's power system is so constrained it has almost exhausted its reserve tank, Eskom CEO Tshediso Matona said on Thursday.
He compared the power system to a car, saying South Africa has been on a reserve tank and now almost exhausted the reserve space.
"It is like driving a car which has passed its reserve margin, yet the dial continues to move to the point where you could pretty much have a breakdown. We have all but exhausted the reserve space."
Matona was giving his second quarterly update of the state of the system since he took office at Eskom three and a half months ago.
He repeatedly said South Africa is living on the edge.
He said using the metaphor of a car was very helpful in explaining the situation. "The metaphor of the car is helpful as it says if you have a car and you drive it and continue to drive it, it will carry you but at some point it packs up. And this is what is happening with many of the generating units of Eskom."
"Any slight trigger can push us over! We are living on the edge."
Matona said it all boils down to maintenance. "Eskom is a highly technical environment, but we communicate over the heads of the greater public,” he said.
Matona vowed "utmost transparency" at all times. "One fundamental principle that you can be guaranteed we will uphold at all times is utmost transparency and to ensure at all times that the country knows what is happening."
On future load shedding he said the system remains vulnerable. “Any fault in the system pushes us over to load shedding.”
Northern Cape lights to remain on in the near future.
Developers hope the construction of a new concentrated solar power plant in Postmasburg will light up the Northern Cape’s economy.
The 100MW plant will generate enough power to supply more than 200 000 homes, say developers SolarReserve and Acwa Power.
In a real boon for the province, the developers say more than 4 000 direct and indirect jobs could be created in the construction phase, and between 60 and 70 people will be appointed to operate the plant.
Concentrated solar plants use a field of mirrors to focus the heat of the sun on to a single point. The heat is then used to generate steam, and this is used to switch on a generator and make electricity.
The plant will be able to store power for 12 hours of supply, which means it can keep the lights in homes running day and night on request, even after the sun has set.
The project, called Redstone, was one of the successful bidders in the third round of the department of energy’s green power purchasing programme.
Unfortunately, Redstone’s lights won’t be switched on immediately because Eskom has delayed the linking of new renewable energy projects to its network. Redstone is also waiting for final financial approvals.
The developers said they were optimistic that they would be able to start generating power by early 2018.
SolarReserve, a US group, has already built a similar project in the US that uses molten salt as a storage battery.
Kevin Smith, CEO of SolarReserve, says the plant’s power storage capacity means it can supply on demand – just like a conventional coal-fired or nuclear power station, but without pollution or hazardous waste.
SolarReserve also developed the photovoltaic solar projects Lesedi and Jasper, which are online and can produce 75MW and 96MW, respectively.
The Redstone project will be built next to these plants.
Acwa Power developed the Bokpoort concentrated solar power plant near Groblershoop, also in the Northern Cape. It generates 50MW.
Other concentrated solar power plants being developed are Eskom’s own project of 100MW in Upington; Spanish group Abengoa’s three projects of 250MW; the Karoshoek project of 100MW, which Investec, the Industrial Development Corporation and the state’s Public Investment Corporation (PIC) have interests in; and the Kathu Solar Park of 100MW, which Investec, the PIC and French group GDF Suez are involved in.
The power system is expected to be very tight over the evening peaks of the next few days, Eskom said on Monday.
"However the risk of load shedding for today and tomorrow is medium to low," the power utility said in its latest system status bulletin.
"This is owing to steady progress made in building reserves over the weekend to limit the risk of load shedding this week."
The risk would increase later in the week as water and diesel reserves declined.
Mild and cloudy weather was forecast from Wednesday onwards which would increase electricity demand, putting pressure on the system and increasing the risk for load shedding.
"Eskom calls on all South Africans to pull together over the next few months and use electricity sparingly by 'Living Lightly' this summer," the company said.
Homeowners and businesses could switch off geysers, pool pumps, and non-essential lights, and further, efficiently use air-conditioners by keeping room temperature at 23 degrees.
The public could also respond to alerts on TV each evening.
On Monday, available capacity for evening peak demand was 31,903 megawatts (MW), including open cycle gas turbines (OCGT).
Demand was forecast at 31,491 MW. Current planned maintenance stood at 4091 MW, and unplanned outages were 7481 MW.
Forecast available capacity, including OCGT, and peak demand for the rest of the week:
- Tuesday: 32,050 MW available, demand forecast at 31,268 MW
- Wednesday: 32,028 MW available, demand forecast at 31,321 MW
- Thursday: 32,119 MW available, demand forecast at 31,548 MW
- Friday: 32,005 MW available, demand forecast at 29,649 MW
- Saturday: 31,412 MW available, demand forecast at 29,003 MW
- Sunday: 31,298 MW available, demand forecast at 29,409 MW
"The demand in electricity tends to decrease from Friday, going into the weekend," Eskom said.
Earlier on Monday, Eskom spokesman Andrew Etzinger said the electricity supply was expected to be constrained during the week.
"There is no scheduled load shedding at this stage, but the second half of the week is expected to be very tight," he said.
Eskom's diesel generators were under pressure because of a lack of fuel.
"Diesel supplies are a concern due to volumes received not meeting our requirements. We are working with suppliers to unlock the constraints," said Etzinger.
On Sunday, Eskom declared a power emergency with large industrial customers. It also implemented rolling blackouts at the weekend.
Eskom said the power system had experienced an increase in demand as a result of weather conditions and increased load losses as a result of multiple tripping of generating units at the Majuba and Matimba power stations.
The power utility had lost a total of 1700MW of generating power, it said on Sunday.
Etzinger said the risk of blackouts on Monday and Tuesday was medium to low.
"This is owing to steady progress made in building reserves to limit the risk of load shedding next week," he said
WEATHER ALERT : HEAVY RAIN HIT THE CITY
11 Nov 2014
Heavy rains accompanied by lightning and thunder lashed some parts of the City just after midday, Tuesday 11 November 2014, Several parts of the city witnessed heavy showers from about 14.00
A number of incidences have been reported to the municipality from flooding which include homes, to fires, and inaccessible motorways, we are attending to all of the issues as speedily as possible to minimise the effect of the torrential downpour, some residence had to be evacuated from their homes due to the flooding, Furthermore we urge residence and visitors to exercise caution during this time and report any potential hazards to the Municipality so as to attend to it ASAP.
Our Emergency contacts are as follows
EMS : Ambulance - 053 802 9111
: ER24 - 084 124
: Netcare - 082 911
ROADS & STORMWATER
: 053 830 6836
FIRE DEPARTMENT : 053 832 4211
ELECTRICAL : 053 830 6442
POLICE : 10 111