In a Sunday briefing, Electricity Minister, Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, shared a promising update about Eskom’s energy trajectory. The national energy supplier, plagued by issues in the past, now shows a noticeable uptick in its energy generation capacity.
From 28,000 MW to 29,000 MW: The Climb Continues
This past week alone, Eskom’s energy generation jumped from an average of 28,000 MW to almost 29,000 MW. “We’re beginning to normalise available capacity to be upward of 29,000 MW,” Dr. Ramokgopa noted optimistically.
Acknowledging Eskom’s Pioneers
Minister Ramokgopa lauded Eskom’s key figures, particularly applauding:
- Board Chairman, Mpho Makwana
- Acting Eskom CEO, Calib Cassim
- Bheki Nxumalo, leading Generation, along with his skilled team.
Weekly Generation Review and The Energy Action Plan
Between 7-11 August, Eskom’s generation capacity reached a soaring 28,932 MW, even crossing the 29,000 MW mark twice. As Ramokgopa provided an overview of the Energy Action Plan’s yearly progress, he remarked, “During winter, the system operator’s tool to balance the grid was to intensify load-shedding stages. As colder periods wane, demand should tamper down.”
Future-Proofing Energy Supply
While celebrating these short-term wins, the Minister emphasized the need for long-term sustainability and reliability of the energy units. “For long-term sustainability, it’s crucial to take out these units when deemed necessary. Once they return, they sustain performance levels.”
Grappling with Energy Challenges
Addressing the Unplanned Capacity Loss Factor (UCLF), Dr. Ramokgopa revealed a positive trend. UCLF, which currently averages at 15,000 MW from its previous 18,000 MW, is anticipated to stabilize under 14,000 MW.
However, he also mentioned, “An area of concern remains the partial load losses. These units, though generating power, aren’t performing at desired levels, currently pegged at 6,226 MW.”
The Commitment to Maintenance and Performance
The Minister candidly pointed out some units’ underperformance, hinting at historical factors like insufficient maintenance investment. “Our goal is unwavering maintenance plan adherence to ensure these units’ future performance,” he affirmed.
The Load-shedding Conundrum
Ramokgopa acknowledged the ripple effect of load-shedding on the South African economy. “Load shedding’s toll is vast. From job losses to struggling retailers and small businesses, to deterred investors, the repercussions are immense.”
Yet, amidst these challenges, his optimism shone. The Minister stressed on Eskom’s relentless efforts to enhance underperforming power stations and tackle breakdown challenges, confidently concluding, “We’re going to improve this energy availability factor.”