ngula pumped storage scheme Unit 3
ingula award
Most Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement Award. Pic credit: Eskom

Last week, Eskom’s Ingula Pumped Storage Scheme Project won two prestigious awards during the Annual South African Institute of Civil Engineering (SAICE) & South African Forum of Civil Engineering Contractors (SAFCEC) awards.

The multi-billion rand Ingula project, situated in Ladysmith and bordering the KwaZulu-Natal and Free State provinces, is a peaking hydro-power station comprising of an upper and lower reservoir separated in elevation by 480 metres within the Little Drakensburg mountain range.

The first award was for the Most Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement Award in the Technical Excellence Projects Category and the second one was the Technical Excellence Achievement Award.

Ingula hits targets

In August this year, the power project commissioned Unit 2, its second milestone recorded after the power plant’s Unit 4 to have completed all the prerequisite quality assurance tests.

Technical Excellence Achievement Award. Pic credit: Eskom
Technical Excellence Achievement Award. Pic credit: Eskom

Launched in September by President Jacob Zuma, Ingula’s Unit 4 was the first to come into commercial operation.

Eskom noted via a company statement that the commercial operation of these two units mark a key milestone towards the full commercial operation of the entire Ingula Pumped Storage Scheme ahead of the scheduled deadline of mid-2017.

The Group’s CEO Brian Molefe commented at the time: “The commercial operation of Unit 2 will add an extra 333MW into the national, and this will enable us to ensure security of power supply to South African homes and businesses.”

Molefe added: “Besides being a catalyst for economic growth, a stable power supply will also enable Eskom, together with municipalities, to rollout electrification programmes to make life easier for millions of households who currently rely on other fuel sources for domestic cooking and heating.”

Increasing generation capacity

The parastatal said in a statement on Thursday: “This project involving Gibb, Royal Haskoning DHV and Knight Piésold as the consulting engineers, has already contributed to stabilising the South African power system.

“When completed, it will house four 333MW Francis-type pumps or turbines and motor generators in its underground powerhouse complex, 116 storeys underground.”

Avin Maharaj, Ingula’s senior project manager, said: “It’s an honour for Eskom to be recognised by SAICE and SAFCEC. This is recognition of the excellent and cutting edge engineering onsite.”

The SAICE and SAFCEC Awards are held annually to honour individuals, projects of excellence, community-oriented initiatives as well as various institutional departments of SAICE and SAFCEC. Another key objective of the awards is to give recognition to well-engineered civil projects.

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