4 March 2014

South Africa: 1 700 Megawatts Added to Electricity Grid

With Eskom having completed its return to service programme, a total of 1 700MW has been added to the country's electricity grid, Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel said on Tuesday.

Minister Patel was addressing a post State of the Nation Address media briefing, held on Tuesday by ministers of the Economic Sectors and Employment and Infrastructure Development cluster.

"Eskom has completed the return to service programme, adding 1 700MW to the grid. That 1 700MW is roughly the size of Koeberg," said Minister Patel.

In September 2013, President Jacob Zuma reopened Grootvlei power station in Mpumalanga, adding to the power parastatal's return to service project.

Grootvlei had been mothballed in 1990 due to excess power at the time. The coal-fired plant added to the Camden and Komati power stations that have been returned to service by the parastatal.

At Tuesday's briefing, Minister Patel added that the construction of the Medupi and Kusile power stations was progressing.

"The construction of the two major power stations has progressed, with both set to deliver power in 2014 and 2015 respectively. "In addition, the Ingula Pumped Storage Scheme will be Eskom's third pumped storage scheme with an output of 1 332MW, mostly used during peak-demand periods. The total investment on these three projects is estimated at R250 billion and the timely delivery of these projects will continue to receive attention," said Minister Patel.

In July 2013, Eskom announced that Medupi, located in Limpopo, would not deliver first power in December 2013 as was expected but rather in the second half of 2014.

Meanwhile, the Department of Energy's Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Programme has gained traction with three windows having being concluded.

"Since 2012 to date, 47 contracts for renewable energy across the nine provinces with total investment of R70 billion.

"The projects will add 2 460MW of power to the grid. This is a vote of confidence in the policies that we have implemented to reform the electricity sector," said Minister Patel.

Additionally, government has installed more than 420 000 solar water geysers.

On the national water infrastructure development and construction front, the cluster noted that the development of key water resources infrastructure was critical for sustained economic growth.

Government has completed a number of major projects to ensure security of water supply for Industrial, agricultural and domestic use. These include the completion in 2013 of the De Hoop Dam in Limpopo and the Spring Grove Dam in KZN, bringing 126 million cubic meters of new water into the system.

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