Eskom warns of 5 more years of load-shedding – or worse

Eskom’s “Medium-Term System Adequacy Outlook 2024 – 2028” report warns that, even in the best-case scenario, it will not have enough electricity to serve South Africa’s needs.

The newly released study reviews the anticipated electricity generation resources to meet South Africa’s forecasted demand in the next five years.

The study assumed a moderate electricity demand forecast with an annual average growth rate of 0.64%.

It used two Eskom plant generation assumptions based on the energy availability factor (EAF).

  • Low EAF – This scenario depicts a declining performance averaging 50% EAF over the study period.
  • High EAF – This scenario depicts an EAF that improves to 66% in 2024 and climbs by 0.5% annually to 68% by the end of the study period. 

Eskom said that no scenario achieves the system adequacy metric of 20 GWh in all years of the assessment period.

The ‘High EAF’ scenario comes close to adequacy and is deemed “within manageable ranges”. It also has open-cycle gas turbine (OCGT) capacity factors below 6% in all years.

The low EAF scenario is severely inadequate, regardless of the new generation initiatives. It will result in severe load-shedding in future.

The study further indicated that if the plant performance decline is not arrested and new generation capacity is not rolled out timeously, the situation will worsen.

To resolve South Africa’s electricity problems over the long term, Eskom recommended a combination of three interventions.

  • EAF improvements.
  • Continued operation of older generation power plants.
  • New build levers.

However, it warned that grid constraints will severely hamper its efforts to restore adequacy if left unaddressed. “All possible efforts should be made to alleviate grid constraints,” Eskom said.

It also urged for more emphasis on timeously extending the life of Koeberg nuclear power station in the Western Cape.

“The loss of Koeberg units will have a significant impact on adequacy in the short term,” Eskom warned.


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