Eskom has published its summer load shedding forecast for 2021/2022, with the power utility warning that its system is likely to remain severely constrained for the near future.
Presenting its system outlook on Monday (25 October), Eskom’s Group Executive for Transmission, Segomoco Scheppers, said that this is as a result of known issues such as high demand and planned maintenance, as well as problems with the Medupi power plant, which had led to over 1,800MW of power being taken offline.
He added that most of Eskom’s coal power stations are operating past the midway of their operational life, resulting in high levels of breakdowns.
This is reflected in Eskom’s outlook for the next 18 months, which shows that the power utility will rely heavily on diesel usage to meet its operational requirements.
Scheppers pointed to demand fast outstripping Eskom’s current generation capacity:
- The solid black line in the middle reflects the demand;
- The blue segment is the conventional generation for Eskom’s fleet;
- The pink segment (which the black line overlaps) reflects diesel usage, which will be used to preserve what is in the yellow;
- Yellow represents the operating reserves;
- The green segment reflects the generation that will be out for planned maintenance.
“The result of the analysis looking at the period ahead to August of 2022 shows that for the Summer period, we believe that in the base case, we could have one day of load shedding at stage 1. But that will be contingent on potentially spending R2.5 billion in Open Cycle Gas Turbines,” Scheppers said.
However, he noted that this scenario was next to impossible to achieve, as South Africa has already had over ten days of load shedding since the start of September.
“If, however, performance is worse than the base case of 12,000MW, and we are 1,000MW higher, we project potentially 40 days of load shedding again accompanied by a significant spend in diesel,” he said.
If more than 2,000MW of outages above the base case, Eskom forecasts up to stage 3 load shedding for 94 days. This would constitute almost the entire Summer period.