On Wednesday, South African state-owned power company, Eskom said that the cumulative capacity generated by its power plants produced 34,534MW of power last week, claiming to be the highest peak demand supplied by the utility when compared to the same period last week at 33,832MW.
According to the company, the year-to-date load factor for the Eskom and Dedisa open cycle gas turbines (OCGT) is 0.3 % and 1.51 % respectively.
Eskom supplies excess to neighbours
The excess output, once all domestic demands have been met, are supplied to neighbouring countries, even over peak periods. Cross border sales for last week during the peak period reached 2,155MW, the utility noted in a statement.
The utility explained: “In the past year, international sales grew 12.2% due to Eskom having surplus capacity. The SADC region has been experiencing the worst drought in decades which has limited power generation from the hydro-electric power stations that most of the region normally relies on, leading to widespread load shedding.
“Eskom has been able to step in and supply up to 600MW at times, but regularly around 450MW mainly to Zimbabwe and Zambia. Initially these additional exports were during off-peak hours, but increasingly sales are being made in other hours of the day. These sales are typically non-firm, implying Eskom retains discretion over the sales and they can be curtailed if the electricity is needed in South Africa.”
The parastatal added that it has been able to boost supply to Namibia and Botswana as well as to Lesotho and Swaziland, however the expansion of these exports has been hampered due to restricted transmission capacity.
These recent events demonstrate the value of having an inter-connected SADC regional transmission system and a trading platform through the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP), which allows for the exchange of power between different countries, Eskom explained.
“The SAPP, which is in its 21st year of operation, provides a platform for cross-border electricity trading as well as facilitating investments in SADC regional electricity capacity projects.
“SAPP comprises members from all the SADC countries; Angola, Botswana, DRC, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe,” the utility said.
Adding that currently only Angola, Malawi and Tanzania are not interconnectors to their neighbouring countries at transmission voltage level.
“The intention into the future is to pursue increased transmission interconnection with our neighbours, allowing further increases in exports as the supply-demand balance continues to improve.
“To this end the Southern African Energy Unit of Eskom is already pursuing long-term firm power sales agreements for application in the future which could underwrite the transmission investments required,” the power company said.