Electricity Minister at Kusile Power Station

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Minister in the Presidency responsible for Electricity, Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, has arrived at the Kusile Power Station in Mpumalanga.  

The Minister, who is currently being briefed by senior Eskom officials at the Kusile Power Station, kick-started his nationwide tour of the 14 power stations on Monday, to engage with management, workers, and unions. His first stop on Monday, was at the Kriel and Duvha Power Station in Mpumalanga.

“Government has taken steps to improve the performance of Eskom’s existing power stations so that the coal-fired power stations that provide 80% of our electricity produce the amount of electricity for which they were designed,” he said on Monday.

He said he was convinced that through collective efforts, loadshedding can be resolved.

“Job well done to the Duvha power station team for increasing their energy availability factor to 70% in the past month thanks to technical solutions, improved efficiency, agile leadership and hard work,” the Minister said.

The Minister believes that Eskom employees are the heart of resolving the ongoing energy crisis.

“My view has always been the biggest asset for any organisation is its workers and the reason we’re starting from the bottom up is to appreciate and understand the efforts being made at the station level,” he told media.

“I committed to the country that we’ll be at the station level, examining the issues that affect every unit and getting from the station manager, organised labour and workers about what are the interventions, in their opinion, they think are appropriate to help scale up energy availability,” he said.

The Minister said in the next seven days he will continue to talk with workers to understand the nature and scale of the problem and update the Energy Action Plan (EAP), which President Cyril Ramaphosa unveiled last year. 

Ramokgopa believes that the EAP’s first pillar, which speaks to improving the availability of existing supply system stability and increasing generation capacity was important.

Meanwhile, Eskom has recently welcomed the decision to exempt it from certain requirements in terms of its application to build temporary stacks at the Kusile Power Station.

The Forestry, Fisheries and Environment Minister, Barbara Creecy, announced recently that Eskom has been granted an exemption from the lengthy process required to amend its Atmospheric Emission License, subject to certain strict conditions.

The application had been brought due to the urgent need to alleviate the electricity crisis in the country.

This follows a failure of the Unit 1 flue gas duct on 22 October 2022, which subsequently affected units 2 and 3 as the ducts for all these three units are welded together.

“The exemption given does not provide Eskom approval to operate the temporary stacks. The exemption allows Eskom to submit its application to operate the stacks based on presently available information and with a reduced public participation process.

“Based on the exemption provided by the Minister, Eskom intends to submit its final application for approval to operate the temporary stacks, to the relevant authorities in April 2023,” Eskom explained at the time.

Approval of the final application, according to Eskom, means it will be able to operate the three units without the use of the flue gas desulphurisation (FDG) mechanism, which is an emission-abatement technology, for 13 months while the flue gas ducts are being repaired.

“The repair of the damaged stacks will be completed by December 2024 and during this time the necessary steps will be implemented to mitigate the impact of sulfur dioxide emissions on air quality.”

According to Eskom, the temporary structure will be completed by the end of November 2023, which will enable the return of 2 100MW.

This will further alleviate pressure on the power system and reduce load shedding by almost two stages.

“Eskom will comply with the conditions of the exemption.” – SAnews.gov.za