Former Eskom CEO warns of stage 8 load-shedding

Former Eskom CEO Matshela Koko said South Africa is facing stage 8 load-shedding unless the power utility addresses excessive breakdowns at its power stations.

Speaking during an “Eskom Lecture” on Mzansi News, Koko said Eskom’s nominal generation capacity is 47,145MW.

There are breakdowns of 17,000MW, which means the available capacity to feed into the grid is 30,145MW.

However, there is also planned maintenance of 3,000MW, which brings Eskom’s available capacity to 27,145MW.

The system operator demands an operating reserve of 2,200MW, which leaves Eskom with 24,945MW.

There is an additional 1,000MW available through the privately owned Avon and Didiza peaking power plants. It lifts the available capacity to 25,945MW.

The projected peak demand in July is 34,000MW, which leaves Eskom with a deficit of over 8,000MW.

Stage 8 load-shedding will have to be implemented in this scenario to protect against grid collapse and avoid a total blackout.

“Whatever discussion we have, we face stage 8 load-shedding in July unless breakdowns are significantly reduced,” Koko said.

He did not add any renewable energy from solar and wind farms. “However, the system operator does not include renewables either,” he said.

“The problem we need to solve is reducing breakdowns to increase the base load. When you throw in renewables, it will only help to reduce peak demand.”

Solar power plants stop producing power by around 17:00 in winter, which will not help to reduce the evening peak.

Koko added that power imported from neighbouring countries would not be during peak hours. “No neighbour, other than Mozambique, will give you power during peak hours,” he said.

The table below, provided by Koko, gives an overview of South Africa’s expected power deficit during winder.

Nominal capacity47,145MW
Breakdowns-17,000 MW
Planned maintenance-3,000MW
Operating reserve-2,200MW
Avon and Didiza+1,000MW
Available capacity25,945MW
Projected peak demand in July 202334,000MW
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