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Koeberg safety protocol ‘outdated’

Written by Administrator. Posted in News

ANTI-NUCLEAR organisation Koeberg Alert Alliance (KAA) has battled with Eskom for the past two years to release its emergency evacuation plans for the proposed nuclear site at Koeberg – only to find that the document is outdated.

KAA requested a copy of the emergency and evacuation plan for the Koeberg Nuclear Power Station through the Promotion of Access to Information Act in June 2010 and again in November last year. Eskom turned down both of these requests and claimed that the information was classified.

Eskom is to build six nuclear reactors at three sites: Thyspunt near Jeffreys Bay, Bantamsklip near Gansbaai and Koeberg near Cape Town as part of a new nuclear build programme for SA by 2030.

“The document is dated 2008, so it seems questionable if it is complete and up to date in terms of population growth, new housing developments and lessons from the Fukushima disaster of 2011,” Peter Becker, KAA spokesperson, told the media yesterday.

The cost to build the new nuclear power stations is estimated at R1 trillion, which Becker said was probably an understatement.

He emphasised the repercussions of a nuclear disaster at Koeberg. “The entire Western Cape will be contaminated,” he said.

“The tourism industry could collapse as a 25 percent drop was seen in Japan’s tourism after the nuclear leak. The Cape wine industry exports would also suffer, the agricultural sector will collapse with dairy farmers not being able to sell their milk or meat because of caesium, an extremely reactive metal. But who will compensate them for all their losses?”

Becker said Eskom only had a R 2.4 billion limit they are obligated to pay out in the event of a disaster, but this only covers 10 percent of Melkbosstrand property.

Property markets would collapse because contaminated areas would become dangerous for 200 years and insurance doesn’t cover damage of this kind.

“If we had more details from the evacuation plan then we would have a better idea of what to expect. At the moment we don’t have the infrastructure to deal with a disaster of this kind,” he said.

– Google News

Eskom supply still tight

Written by Administrator. Posted in News

Eskom is making progress with its planned maintenance programme but the supply system remains tight, the parastatal said on Friday.

he power supply capacity to meet Friday evening’s peak demand was 32,513 megawatts (MW), more than the forecast 30,715 MW, Eskom said in a statement.

It said current planned maintenance stood at 4,845 MW and unplanned outages were 5,639 MW.

Peak demand for the rest of the week was forecast at: 29,385 MW on Saturday, 29,104 MW on Sunday, 31,337 MW on Monday, 31,376 MW on Tuesday, 31,454 MW on Wednesday, and 31,265 MW on Thursday.

“We urge all South Africans to partner with us to keep the lights on and save 10 percent of their electricity usage.

“This will make it significantly easier to manage the power system during this challenging time, while also enabling us to do planned maintenance to ensure the reliability of our plant.”

Eskom said it would release a power supply update twice a week to keep citizens informed.

– Google News

Eskom’s blackouts increase

Written by Administrator. Posted in News

Eskom said on Friday in its twice-weekly capacity update service that unplanned outages were 5,521 Megawatt (MW) on January 26 compared with 5,497 Megawatt (MW) on January 23, 5,373 MW on Jan 19, 4,274 MW on Jan 16 and 3,678 MW on January 13.

The electricity generating capacity available to meet peak demand on January 26 was 33,189 MW, while demand was expected to be 31,106 MW. Current planned maintenance stands at 4,286 MW.

Eskom has moved to twice a week updates instead of the previous quarterly updates in line with its commitment to regular and transparent communication on the power system, which is expected to be constrained for at least the next two years.

On January 17 peak demand of 31,278 MW was met by available capacity of 32,954 MW. That is a margin of 1,676 MW (5%) or around three modern 600 MW coal-fired generators.

On January 9 peak demand of 30,282 MW was met by available capacity of 30,742 MW or a margin of only 460 MW (less than one generating unit at a modern coal generating plant) or only 1.5%. The internationally accepted safe margin is 15%.

The reason for this low margin in SA is that Eskom carries out planned maintenance on its power stations during the seasonally low demand summer months, so that the power stations are ready to handle the peak winter demand months of June and July, when service delivery protests also peak.

On January 12, capacity taken offline for planned maintenance was 4,461 MW or around nine generating units, but unplanned outages were 3,678 MW or around seven generating units. Last year in February, a 600 MW generating unit at Duvha failed during tests as it was being returned to service, while in January 2003 a similar event took place.

This year and next year Eskom does not have the spare capacity to be able to have a large generating unit fail, as the first unit of the new Medupi power station will only come on line in 2013. – I-Net Bridge

– Google News

Eskom appeal ‘a grim warning of energy failure’

Written by Administrator. Posted in News

The appeal this month by Eskom to big mining companies to curb their electricity usage is a grim warning that government’s energy planning has failed and drastic policy revisions are urgently required, says the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Cape Chamber of Commerce & Industry president Michael Bagraim said on Wednesday that government should allow the construction of gas fired generation stations on the coast so that inland coal stations could focus on supplying electricity to large mines and other industries.

“This country and its economy were built on mining and we cannot afford to restrict one of the main employers and earners of foreign exchange without dire consequences for the whole economy,” said Bagraim.

The appeal or instruction to the mines would result in decisions to halt or postpone investments in new mining projects and the money would be used to finance new mines in Australia or South America.

“The mining companies are international firms and the shortage of electricity along with changes in our mining legislation and threats of nationalisation are more than enough to make them turn to projects in other countries where they are more welcome,” Bagraim said.

He said the Integrated Resources Plan of 2010 failed to recognise the urgency of the situation.

“It’s no good talking about new coal or nuclear power stations because they will take 10 to 15 years to build and we can’t wait that long. By that time mines will be closing down,” Bagraim said.

The obvious answer, according to Bagraim, was to build gas-fired power stations at the coast so that Eskom’s inland power stations were freed to provide an unrestricted supply of electricity to the mines.

Bagraim said the price of gas had come down sharply and there had been discoveries of massive gas reserves off the coasts of Tanzania, Mozambique and Namibia in the past six months and after the IRP 2010 had been approved.

“This changed the situation and gave SA the chance to buy gas from its neighbours. This would also stimulate regional co-operation and trade while it solved the electricity problem,” he said.

Bagraim pointed out that new combined cycle gas power stations were clean and efficient and could be built in just two to three years.

In both the US and the UK new gas power stations were producing cheaper electricity than either nuclear or coal-fired power stations. “The Chamber has spoken to companies willing to build gas-fired power stations to supply electricity at costs that compare favourably with Eskom tariffs.”

In Durban the sugar industry wanted to build a power station which would burn waste and there had been plans for a gas power station in Cape Town but indecision by the authorities was driving investors away.

Bagraim said Eskom had its hands full but it would be a simple matter to authorise the big coastal cities to buy electricity direct from independent power stations.

“If we build power stations at the coast we will be helping Eskom to keep the mines and the heavy inland industries going. We would all be winners,” Bagraim said.


Does the size of the generator count?

Written by Administrator. Posted in News

Generator power output is usually expressed in VoltAmps (VA) and, occasionally, in Watts (W).

When the numbers get into the thousands, these terms become kiloVoltAmps (kVA) or kilowatts (kW).

For our purposes the rule of thumb is that 1000VA is about 800W.

To convert from Watts to VA, multiply Watts by 1,25 (and vice versa).

Also, you want your generator to be rated at least 30% higher than what you need.

Want to run twenty 100W light bulbs?
20 x 100W = 2000W (2kW).
2kW plus an extra 30% reserve = 2,6kW.

Need that in VA because that’s how the generators are marked ?

2,6kW x 1,25 = 3.25kVA.
So, your twenty 100W light bulbs need a 3,25kVA (or bigger) generator.

What size then?

Simply add up the rated power of every electrical device you need to have running off the generator simultaneously.

Here are some examples of common items:

  • Normal domestic light bulbs: 60W to 100W
  • Energy-saver light bulbs: 10W to 20W
  • TV: 150W
  • PC: 250W
  • Laptop: 100W
  • Desk fan: 30W
  • Food blender: 50W
  • Kitchen fridge/freezer: 200W
  • Bar fridge: 100W
  • Kettle: 1200W
  • Stove plate: 1500W
  • Oven: 2000W
  • Tumble dryer: 3000W
  • Geyser: 3000W
  • Vacuum cleaner: 1000W
  • Lawnmower: 3000W
  • Pool pump: 1200W

One notable exception: Air conditioners.
Although your air conditioner may be rated at, say, 3kW, it draws a startup surge every few minutes that is a few times this figure. Your generator will choke on this unless it’s well up to the job of providing this brief surge current. For most folks this means forgetting about using the aircon and surviving with a desk fan instead. If you must use your aircon then you’ll need a generator rated at least twice the power of your aircon’s rating, possibly more.


Cheap Generators

Written by Administrator. Posted in News

Are you thinking about buying an inexpensive generator?  Cheap generators tend to make a lot of sense.  Most people want to hang onto their money as long as they can nowadays, and with good reason.  No one wants to lose what they have, but that is exactly what can happen if you lose power and do not have a portable generator, the problem is that majority of the times a cheap generator will end up costing you more than buying a reliable standby generator from a reputable company.

In 2011, forty percent (40%) of all generators sold by EMR Generators in South Africa, were sold to replace faulty “so-called” cheap generators.  These were “cheap” imports, that offered no warranty nor were any spares available.

Beware of the cheap bargain generators of unknown origins!  Ensure that the generator that you are buying is from a well known company, the company must offer a wide range of products,  good warranty and carries spares.

Beware Eskom tight supply

Written by Administrator. Posted in News

Decades of neglected maintenance have caught up with Eskom, and a substantial amount of power will be taken off the (already tight) grid this summer as repair work is done .

The capacity available to meet Monday’s peak demand is 33 776 Megawatt (MW). This includes open cycle gas turbines, which use expensive diesel and are normally used only in emergencies, while demand is forecast at 31 781 MW. Current planned maintenance stands at 4 661 MW. Unplanned outages are 4 274 MW.

Last Monday, peak demand of 30 282 MW was met by available capacity of only 30 742 MW. By Thursday capacity available had improved to 34 618 MW, with planned maintenance outages at 4 461 MW. Unplanned outages were at 3 678 MW.

During the course of Wednesday last week, supply from Cahora Bassa in Mozambique (1 500 MW) was lost for about two hours.

Peak demand for the rest of this week is forecast at: 31 825 MW on Tuesday, 32 024 MW on Wednesday, 32 111 MW on Thursday, 32 015 MW on Friday, 29 933 MW on Saturday, and 29 475 MW on Sunday.

Eskom said it continues to make progress with its programme of planned maintenance. The performance of its power stations has improved since last week, but the system remains tight and users are urged to save 10% of their normal demand.

“We urge all South Africans to partner with us to keep the lights on. If all our customers can save 10% off their electricity usage, this will make it significantly easier to manage the power system during this challenging time,” Eskom said.


Eskom launches weekly update service

Written by Administrator. Posted in News

On January 9, 2012 peak demand of 30,282 Megawatts (MW) was met by available capacity of 30,742 MW or a margin of only 460 MW (less than one generating unit at a modern coal generating plant) or only 1.5%. The internationally accepted safe margin is 15% so Eskom as at one tenth of this level.

Bronkhorstspruit power back

Written by Administrator. Posted in News

Power had been restored to the Bronkhorstspruit area after a substation was knocked out for two days by lightning, the Tshwane metro said on Wednesday.

Metro spokesperson Pieter de Necker said power had been restored to all the affected areas of Bronkhorstpruit and Zithobeni township.

The power supply to the area was being monitored.

The area had experienced a total power outage since Sunday night after the Cathie Street substation in Bronkhorstspruit substation was hit by lightning.

As a result of the power failure, water to several areas could also not be provided and water tankers were supplied.

DA spokesperson Fred Nel said the power failure could have been averted had proper lightning protection been installed.

“The electricity network has not been maintained up to standard by municipalities who skimp on maintenance in order to save costs,” said Nel.

“The Bronkhorstspruit incident is a case in point where proper lightning protection was not installed.”

Nel has called on Gauteng local government MEC Humphrey Mmemezi to “initiate an immediate audit on the state of Gauteng’s electricity network”. – Sapa

Eskom Power-Failure Risk Heightens on Increased Maintenance

Written by Administrator. Posted in News

Jan. 9 (Bloomberg) — Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd., the utility that supplies about 95 percent of South Africa’s power, said the risk of a repeat of 2008 power outages increased as it took down more generating plants for overdue maintenance.

“The current week is particularly challenging and we are concerned about meeting demand for electricity,” the state- owned company said in an e-mailed statement today.

About 13 percent of its 41,000 megawatts of generating capacity is down for planned maintenance, Hilary Joffe, a spokeswoman for Johannesburg-based Eskom, said by phone from the city today. She couldn’t immediately say how much capacity is out because of unplanned maintenance.

“We have made maintenance a priority, because we’ve said we need to catch up on the backlog,” Joffe said, adding more work is being done now than last January. Other smaller “issues” also heightened the risk, she said, adding coal stockpiles are at about 42 days and Eskom is “keeping an eye on it” as more rain is forecast.

Eskom is building new coal-fired power plants and restarted inactive ones to avoid a repeat of the January 2008 blackouts that temporarily shut mines and halted work in factories in Africa’s largest economy. BHP Billiton Ltd., Xstrata Plc and Anglo American Plc’s aluminum, ferrochrome and platinum smelters are among the largest electricity users.

While Eskom isn’t planning a repeat of 2008 forced rolling power cuts now, it’s asking large customers to voluntarily reduce usage, as it has done at times over the past year, Joffe said. Eskom is also using its more expensive gas-fired plants now to generate electricity, she said.

A shortage of coal, the fuel used to fire most of Eskom’s power plants, contributed to the 2008 blackouts. The South African Weather Service forecasts an at least 30 percent chance of rain for Witbank, the heart of South Africa’s main coal- production region, for each of the six days from today, it said on its website.