Koeberg Unit 2 back online

Eskom returned Koeberg Unit 2 to full operation on Sunday night.

The unit tripped in the early hours of Saturday morning, forcing Eskom to rework its planned load-shedding to stage 6 until further notice.

Eskom did not provide a reason for the outage in its original statement on the incident, which came about four hours after energy expert Chris Yelland had confirmed it on Twitter.

At around 19:00 on Saturday, Yelland said the fact that Eskom had not provided a reason for the trip 16 hours after it had occurred appeared “ominous”.

Yelland’s timeline of the incident suggested Eskom had waited well over 12 hours to inform the public about the trip.

In its latest statement, the utility said the trip was due to problems with its feedwater pumps, without providing any further details on the precise nature of the “problems”.

“The reactor has been taken critical and reactor power is being increased to enable turbine commissioning,” said Eskom.

“The unit is expected to safely synchronise to the grid before morning peak tomorrow [Monday, 17 April 2023], once all the required activities are completed.”

Unlikely that return will bring load-shedding relief on its own

While Koeberg Unit 2’s brings up to 920MW of generating capacity back online, equivalent to one stage of load-shedding, power demand is likely to pick up during the week.

That means unless its return to service is coupled with other units coming back online, load-shedding is likely to remain at a high level.

Koeberg Unit 1 is also currently on a long-term outage for its 20-year life extension project.

The unit was originally slated to return to service by 22 July 2023, during the winter peak period that typically sees very high electricity demand.

However, electricity minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa has said work on the unit was about 45 days behind schedule, which means Eskom will have to do without the capacity until at least early Spring.

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Koeberg Unit 2 back online