South Africa bolsters power capacity as new unit linked to grid: Eskom

SOUTH Africa’s Eskom linked up the first of four units at its Ingula power plant on Friday, the utility said on Monday, as it raises capacity to overcome chronic electricity shortages in Africa’s most developed economy.

Eskom, which has in the past been forced to impose power cuts to prevent demand from surging past capacity, is scrambling to repair its ageing power plants and grid as well as adding new plants.

Unit four of the hydro-powered Ingula plant, which is in the northeast Kwazulu Natal province, added 333 megawatts (MW) to the grid.

Construction on the 25 billion rand ($1.65 billion) plant began in 2006 and all four units are expected to be fully operational in 2017 to produce 1,332 MW.

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.

Six workers were killed in an accident at the pumped storage scheme plant in 2013, forcing construction to halt for a safety review.

($1 = 15.1636 rand)-Reuters

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