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Last week, Eskom shared its Transmission Development Plan (TDP) for the period 2021 to 2030 with various stakeholders during a public forum hosted online.

This is part of Eskom’s Transmission licence requirements issued by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa), which calls for Eskom to publish a TDP annually.

The public forum forms part of a consultative process where industry, various business sectors, local government and other infrastructure development partners, get to influence the long-term development plan of the transmission system.

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Eskom Group Executive for Transmission, Segomoco Scheppers, commented: “Through our TDP, we aim to increase the transmission infrastructure by approximately 5,650km of high-voltage lines and 41,595MVA of transformer capacity in the next 10 years.” A significant number of investments are required to strengthen the transmission grid to accommodate the new generation capacity in accordance with the IRP2019.

“Some adjustments have been made to the TDP since its last publication in 2019, which include the re-phasing of capital investment in transmission projects to align them with the project execution timelines that are associated with servitude acquisitions and current available funding.”

According to Eskom, the state-owned entity understands the critical role it plays in enabling South Africa’s economic recovery efforts because, without reliable electricity, there can be no sustainable economic recovery or growth.

Since the publication of the last TDP in 2019, a number of transmission substations and transformer capacity enhancement projects were commissioned in support of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement (REIPPP) Programme.

This was in conjunction with network strengthening for the commissioning of the Eskom generation, as well as for network reliability and the integration of committed customers. Thirteen additional IPP projects in Bid Window 4 were integrated into the national transmission grid, providing approximately 866MW of energy. The successful integration of these IPP projects was underpinned by investments in new substations and transformer capacity enhancements, mainly in the Northern Cape.

Scheppers further stated: “There is a clear and compelling case for significant transmission network expansion critical for the connection of utility-scale renewable generation projects, mainly wind and solar, in line with policy direction highlighted in the IRP2019 and the Grid Code, namely, to diversify the country’s energy mix and to provide non-discriminatory access to the grid.”

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He explained that over this planning period, 30GW of new generation capacity mainly from renewable energy sources (PV and wind) is expected to be added to the power system. However, he stressed that the bulk of the new renewable generation capacity is located in areas with very limited network infrastructure.

“In order to provide an adequate and reliable transmission system, the total Transmission capital plan in this period amounts to approximately R118 billion (around $8 billion). This is mainly associated with network requirements for the new anticipated generation capacity, to meet the future demand growth in the country, to ensure reliability and security of supply, and to sustain the existing and ageing transmission network infrastructure that requires substantial investments in refurbishments as well,” said Scheppers.

Access Eskom’s Transmission Development Plan (TDP)