What more could well-meaning South Africans be praying for, if not ‘better lives’? What more would light up the faces of the people if government decides to keep most of its campaign promises.
Most political campaigns carried around the state have never failed to promise South Africans stuff like good road, housing, steady electricity and what have you.
And truth be told, everyone has always looked up to having these promises delivered (in no small measure). But, to be pragmatic, many still feel that government has not done enough in delivering its promises.
That notwithstanding, it appears Eskom wants to revamp the electricity sector for good this time.
Eskom CEO Brian Molefe has just announced that South Africa will have ‘surplus’ and steady electricity in five years time. He said this while addressing a joint media briefing with Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown.
In five years time we think South Africa will have surplus electricity… that can either be used to grow the economy or sold in Southern Africa.
Speaking on Thursday, power utility chief executive Brian Molefe asserted that Eskom has intensified its build programme and as such by 2021, the country will have excess electricity.
As part of plans to have the promise delivered, Minister Brown and Molefe announced that the Ingula Pump Storage Scheme, a hydro-electric project in KwaZulu-Natal, would be delivered a year ahead of schedule. Brown was reported to have said;
Today I would like to announce that unit 3 of Ingula was successfully synchronised to the grid on the 6th of March. This means that an additional 330 megawatts capacity will be available to the grid as commissioning progresses towards the unit’s full commercial operation in January 2017.
He further reiterated that “this significant milestone allows Eskom to continue its maintenance programme and reduce pressure on the grid.”
They noted that Ingula has four units, each able to provide 333 megawatts (MW) of electricity. And that the third unit would be coming on-line by March next year, as it’s already adding power to the grid.
The Eskom CEO stated that while the three other units are expected to come on-line before year-end, another 1300 MW of electricity would be available for distribution to power users.
“We’re pumping water up as we speaking and we are testing machine number 3, but machine number 1, 2 and 4 have also been installed. They will be commissioned and by the end of the year all four of them will be working and in commercial operation, generating 333 by four MW… and this is one year ahead of schedule,” said Molefe.
The Ingula project would help Eskom reduce its reliance on open-cycle gas turbines which are costly to run as a result of the diesel price.
He said he would be counting on machine three and four which would “help us through winter so they will be available to take us through the winter period which will allow us to use less diesel going forward.”
And with the help of these machines “the diesel machines will be parked and only turned on if we really need them,” he said.
In conclusion, he assured the country that Eskom would have enough power to keep the lights on throughout winter when South Africans generally consume higher electricity energy.