South Africa’s Power cuts(Load Shedding) to continue beyond Christmas-Electricity Minister

The national electricity grid cannot be stabilised before the end of the year and load shedding will continue into mid-2024.

Construction of new temporary chimneys has not yet started at Kusile. They are designed to replace the flue gas duct that was damaged at Unit 1 in October last year.

The new set is a deviation of the plant’s licence requirements which approved an environmentally friendly chimney that removes volumes of sulphur before emitting smoke into the air.

Minister of Electricity Kgosientsho Ramokgopa said this during a visit to Kusile Power Station in Mpumalanga on Monday.

The power station has lost four of its units, a loss of 3,200 MW to the grid.

The R166 billion station is responsible for three stages of load shedding and is expected to regain function of three more units by December and full capacity by February 2024.

Ramokgopa said Kusile would be back at full capacity in April 2024.

“Kusile is particularly important because as you know that there are three units that went off — Unit 1, 2 and 3 — and there is also Unit 5 that is offline.

“And those units collectively if they were operating today, you can imagine each giving us about 800 MW so you have about 3,200 MW. Essentially you are talking about three stages of load shedding,” said Ramokgopa.

In other Eskom woes the power utility has scheduled a 200-day shutdown of the reactor at its Koeberg nuclear power station.

The reactor has been taken offline for maintenance, refuelling and refurbishment as part of plans to extend its lifespan by another 20 years.

All this is happening as Koeberg’s operating licence is due to expire on 21 July 2024 and the Unit 1 shutdown is planned for 24 July 2024 and its return in February 2025.

That would be a loss of 970 MW for 200 days as each unit at Koeberg generates 970 MW.

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