Ingula Pumped Storage-IndustrySA
Image source: IndustrySA

On Friday, South African state-owned power utility Eskom, released a statement on the Ingula pumped storage scheme, stating that it is actively taking steps to conserve the environment for future generations. These steps form part of the utility’s commitment to environmental sustainability in all its operations.

Eskom taking care of environment

The utility said that it has taken a decision to manage the area surrounding the dams and the construction sites as a conservation area.

The area, located on the border between the Free State and KwaZulu-Natal, is of significant value as a source of water for the Highveld and serves as a habitat for a variety of plants, birds and animals.

The utility has employed a team of full-time professional environmentalists to monitor all construction activities on site, ensuring all legal requirements are met and that the project operates within the terms of government authorisation.

Community support

Surrounded by 10,000 hectares of nature reserve, the co-operation of surrounding landowners, the Ingula nature reserve may form the core of a larger conservation area protecting the moist, high altitude grasslands of the eastern Free State and northern KwaZulu-Natal.

Social economic growth and development will be impacted through the development of a nature reserve and will facilitate community upliftment as well.

This development will ensure an improved environment and will help in the development of communities in the area, both from a social and economic perspective.

The utility highlighted that the wetlands on the property serve as a continual supply of water to the Wilge River and springs flow throughout the year.

According to Eskom: “The formal conservation of the Wilge River and associated wetlands will be explored in conjunction with the Free State Department of Tourism, Environmental and Economic Affairs.

“We will continue with rehabilitation done in the past to ensure the sustainable functioning of the wetlands.”

Development of Ingula

The pumped storage scheme provides power during peaking periods or when there is an insufficient supply, and stores energy from the system during periods of low demand or excess capacity, Eskom explained in an earlier statement.

On Thursday, the utility announced that Unit 3, the first of four units of Ingula have successfully synchronised to the national electricity grid.

Once completed, all four units of the Ingula Pumped Storage Scheme will produce a total of 1,332MW

“Eskom continues to execute its build programme that will bring much-needed power to support South Africa’s economic growth. In February this year, Unit 1 of the Kusile power station successfully completed factory acceptance tests, an important milestone towards the synchronisation of the unit. This unit is expected to be commercially operational in July 2018,” the utility highlighted.