Eskom’s Conditional Emission Reprieve
The National Air Quality Officer (NAQO) has awarded Eskom a respite to meet the Minimum Emission Standards (MES) at Kusile Power Station, albeit under rigid conditions.
As disclosed by the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE), the delay extends from 5 June 2023 to 31 March 2025.
“The postponement application was necessitated by the failure of Kusile west stack on 23 October 2022. The failure limited the power station’s ability to operate three commissioned generating units (units 1, 2 and 3). These units would each provide some 700MW in total, 2,100MW to the national grid and potentially reduce load shedding by two levels,” the department communicated on Sunday.
Eskom’s Interim Technical Solution
Eskom intends to restore the units via the construction of three temporary stacks that will bypass the Flue Gas Delsuphurisation (FGD) plant as the affected stack undergoes repairs.
The operation of these temporary stacks will facilitate the return of 2,100MW to the grid, thereby alleviating load shedding.
Conditional Approval of Postponement
Upon reviewing Eskom’s postponement application, the NAQO and the Nkangala District Municipality, functioning as the Atmospheric Emissions License Authority, weighed the health and environmental impacts against the drawbacks of electricity supply, and deemed the application suitable.
Eskom’s postponement was granted under these conditions:
- Eskom must implement measures to reduce sulphur dioxide exposure harm to its employees and nearby communities. This requires, at least, independent health screenings and the referral of individuals needing healthcare to suitable public health facilities.
- Within 21 days of receiving the decision, Eskom must submit a comprehensive plan outlining its intended mitigation measures. Both the NAQO and Nkangala District Municipality will review this plan.
- Eskom must deliver quarterly progress reports concerning its compliance roadmap implementation and commitments made towards resuming use of the Flue Gas Delsuphurisation.
- To be enforceable, this decision must be reflected in Kusile Power Station AEL.
Eskom must also comply with any additional requirements stipulated by the Nkangala District Municipality.
The NAQO, with the concurrence of the Nkangala District Municipality, may review this decision during the postponement period, in accordance with the National Environmental Management Air Quality Act provisions. – SAnews.gov.za