Eskom implemented stage 4 load-shedding this weekend, blaming the “loss of an additional 900MW from Mozambique imports” for the electricity shortage.
Damage caused by tropical cyclone Idai means that both high-voltage, direct current (HVDC) lines from the Cahora-Bassa hydroelectric generation station to the Apollo substation in Gauteng are down.
The estimated time to restore these links is not known, as the damaged lines are inaccessible and the extent of the damage is unknown.
While this is a devastating blow to Eskom, which is already struggling to cope with demand, it is by no means its only challenge.
Energy expect Chris Yelland warned that Eskom is facing many immediate problems which extend beyond the Cahora-Bassa lines. These problems include:
- South Africa is out of diesel, which is needed to run backup diesel-fueled power stations.
- Pumped storage dams are low.
- There is no power from Mozambique’s Cahora-Bassa hydroelectric generation station.
- Eskom is missing 5,000MW of power from 8 generator units, which are down due to boiler tube leaks.
- Three generator units are running, but with boiler tube leaks which place them at risk.
- There are many other unplanned outages at Eskom.
Short-term solutions to load-shedding
Yelland also provided six short-term, quick-win solutions to current load-shedding which are easy to implement.
- Unlock the regulatory constraints preventing customers from being part of the solution through small scale embedded generation (SSEG), like rooftop solar installations at homes, businesses, warehouses, factories, mines, and farms.
- Promulgate the draft Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) 2019 and accelerate the procurement of the stalled expedited Rounds 4.5 and 5, and further rounds, of the Renewable Energy IPP programme for new utility scale wind and solar PV power plants.
- Commence the procurement and construction of liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals and associated infrastructure for gas engine, OCGT, and CCGT flexible power plants at port facilities in KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape, and Western Cape to back up variable renewable energy.
- Commence the procurement and installation of strategically positioned battery energy storage systems (BES) for voltage and frequency support, black start, and load shifting.
- To supplement grid power, facilitate micro-grids with renewable energy, battery energy storage, and diesel and gas generation for industrial parks, campuses, housing estates, and rural villages.
- Unlock the policy, regulatory, and legal constraints which prevent municipalities from generating electricity for their own residents and customers, or from contracting with IPPs to supply electricity to municipalities.