According to the utility, the Ingula pumped storage scheme Unit 3, which was the first unit to be synchronised to the grid on 3 March 2016, was damaged during the test phase after running successfully for a month.
Eskom’s CEO Brian Molefe reassured South Africans that the incident will not hamper the project from coming to full completion on scheduled time.
Molefe said: “It is important to note that we have ensured that this incident does not compromise the completion schedule of the Ingula project. All four units will go into commercial operation as planned.”
Ingula pumped storage scheme Unit 3: generator faulty
According to a company statement, a fault occurred on Unit 3’s generator whilst the contractor was performing commissioning tests, causing damage to the generator rotor coils. However, the repair work is reported to be underway.
“The unit was still under the control of the contractor who will be responsible for the recovery of the damaged portion of the unit,” the company maintained.
During the test period the unit was used in manual pumping and generating mode to support the national grid at its full capacity of 333MW, Eskom said.
Ingula pumped storage scheme
Ingula is a pumped storage scheme located near Ladysmith, KwaZulu-Natal Province. Once completed, Eskom reported that the project will have an underground powerhouse boarding 4 X 333MW pump turbines, with total capacity of 1,332MW. Unit 3 is the first of the four Ingula units to be connected to the national grid.
Pumped storage schemes are primarily operated to meet system peak demands. The scheme releases electricity during periods of peak demand or insufficient capacity and stores energy from the system during periods of low demand or excess capacity.