South Africa’s Eskom Gets New Hydro Plant Fully Linked to Grid

June 19, 2016, 2:01 PM UTC
Valentines Day - South Africa
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - NOVEMBER 20: View of Pretoria, capital of South Africa on November 20, 2014 in Pretoria, South Africa. (Photo by Ute Grabowsky/Photothek via Getty Images)
Photograph by Ute Grabowsky — Photothek via Getty Images

Eskom hailed a milestone in its efforts to overcome South Africa’s chronic electricity shortages on Sunday, saying it had linked up the last of four units at its new Ingula hydro-electric power plant to the grid.

“We look forward to Ingula rapidly nearing commercial completion and meeting the 2017 deadline, thereby enhancing the security of Eskom’s electricity supply to power South Africa into the future,” Eskom’s Chief Executive Brian Molefe said.

Eskom, which has in the past been forced to impose power cuts to prevent demand surging past capacity, is scrambling to repair its aging power plants and grid.

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The utility, which provides power for Africa’s most developed economy, is also adding new plants.

Unit one of the hydro-powered Ingula plant, which is in the northeast Kwazulu Natal province, added an additional 333 megawatts (MW) to the grid, Eskom said in a statement.

Construction of the 25 billion rand ($1.7 billion) plant began in 2006 and all four units are expected to be fully operational in 2017, with capacity to produce 1,332 MW.

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Eskom said on June 13 that it had linked up unit four, adding 333 MW to the grid.

The remaining units are on track for commercial operation in 2017, Eskom said.

Other Eskom projects include the Medupi and Kusile coal-fired plants in the northern Limpopo and eastern Mpumalanga provinces respectively, which will have a combined capacity of about 9,500 megawatts.

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