South Africa needs more generation capacity to end power cuts, Eskom says

PUBLISHED: Mon, 25 Oct 2021 14:12:07 GMT
Alexander Winning
A general view of the headquarter of the embattled South African main electricity provider ESKOM is pictured on February 4, 2015 in Johannesburg. South Africa power supply was under “extreme” pressure on February 2, 2015 and likely to remain so until end of the week after a technical fault at the country’s sole nuclear plant, electricity utility Eskom said. AFP PHOTO/GIANLUIGI GUERCIA (Photo by Gianluigi GUERCIA / AFP) (Photo by GIANLUIGI GUERCIA/AFP via Getty Images)

JOHANNESBURG, Oct 25 (Reuters) – South Africa needs an extra 4,000 to 6,000 megawatts (MW) of generation capacity to eliminate the risk of scheduled power cuts, state utility Eskom said on Monday, adding it would forge ahead with a maintenance plan to improve its performance.

Eskom supplies over 90% of the electricity in Africa’s most industrialised nation but regularly implements outages because of faults at its coal-fired power stations that hold back economic growth.

“To ensure system stability and to meet demand a minimum 4,000 MW of additional generating capacity is critical,” Eskom said in a briefing on the state of the power system. “This will ensure the space for generation to continue with the planned reliability maintenance and refurbishment programme.”

Read more: South Africa to amend power regulations to boost supply – Ramaphosa

The utility said its energy availability factor – a measure of plant performance – in the financial year that started in April was at 65%, below a 70% full-year target. It has implemented outages on roughly 30 days since April 1.

“Our generation business remains a concern – mainly due to its age and a legacy of poor maintenance,” it added.

As of March Eskom had nominal generation capacity of around 46,000 MW.

(Reporting by Alexander Winning; Editing by Kirsten Donovan and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

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