Hope for the future as Eskom generates surplus energy at the weekend

  • At the weekend Eskom was actually generating nearly 3 600MW of surplus energy.
  • This has led to loadshedding being suspended until Tuesday afternoon.
  • The energy crisis is expected to be improved further with Koeberg Unit 1 expected to come online by the end of this month.

On Sunday, after the Springboks secured a place in the Rugby World Cup 2023 finals against New Zealand, Eskom made an announcement that made South Africans even happier than they already were.

“Due to the continued improved generation fleet performance and emergency reserves fully recovered, loadsheding [sic] will remain suspended and only resume on Tuesday at 16:00,” Eskom posted on X.

When loadshedding does return on Tuesday afternoon, it will be at Stage 1 which is a massive improvement from the Stage 6 power cuts the country was subject to little over a month ago.

As the utility mentioned, generation capacity has improved, but in addition, demand has dropped significantly as well. On Friday evening, South Africa drew 26 709MW with Eskom generating 29 427MW. This gave the utility 2 718MW of headroom.

On Saturday evening this improved further with South Africa demanding 24 397MW and Eskom generating 27 979MW, meaning there was a surplus of nearly 3 600MW.

One of the reasons Eskom has likely been able to maintain this headroom is that Unit 3 at Kusile is back online and Eskom intends to generate a total of 3 200MW at the power station by the end of the year.

In other good news, maintenance at Koeberg Unit 1 is nearing completion.

On Friday Eskom said that steam generators at Unit 1 have been successfully replaced and the nuclear power generator was expected to be synchronised to the grid by the end of this month.

“Although it experienced some delays, the process of returning Unit 1 to service is intentionally thorough, as it is essential to ensure all the safety systems are functioning correctly and that the unit is ready to operate reliably for the duration of the upcoming cycle. Currently the water in the reactor circuit which includes the three steam generators, has been increased to its operating pressure and temperature (155bar and 300degrees Celsius),” the utility wrote.

“The process required numerous tests of the safety systems, with more tests still to be performed before and after the start-up of the nuclear reaction. The completion of the commissioning tests will end a long but safe, steam generator replacement journey and signal the return of Unit 1 to commercial operation,” it added.

However, once Unit 1 is operational, Unit 2 will be taken offline for maintenance in mid-November. With that having been said, Eskom says that contractors will use the knowledge gained from servicing Unit 1 to reduce the period that Unit 2 is offline.

We’re tempering our expectations but the energy crisis looks to be turning around provided that the information being fed to the nation is accurate and not simply postering ahead of an election.

For now, we’ll be enjoying this break in loadshedding although we do recommend you make hay while the sun shines. Give our latest episode of Geeks Love Lists a listen for the best ways to beat power cuts and what to avoid when shopping for solutions.


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