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Auxiliary transformers for Kusile

10 October 2013 – The Zest WEG group has delivered 18 auxiliary transformers to Eskom’s new Kusile coal-fired power station about 15 kilometres north of its Kendal power station near Witbank, Mpumalanga. This is part of an order placed in 2011 for 42 auxiliary transformers, from 3.0 MVA to 20 MVA, which will be supplied in consignments until 2016. It is also one of the biggest orders Zest WEG has received for a single power station at one time.

Kusile is the second most advanced coal-fired power plant project in Eskom and will be the first power station in South Africa to have state-of-the-art flue gas desulphurisation technology installed to remove oxides of sulphur from the exhaust flue gases. The first unit is planned for commercial operation in 2014, with the last unit expected to be in commercial operation by 2018. The construction of Kusile power station will have a major impact on the lives and the economy of the community of the Nkangala district, as homes and social infrastructure are being developed to serve the thousands of contractors working on site.

This transformer supply contract will run until 2016 and Russell Finch, power division manager at the Zest WEG group, believes that the Kusile contract was awarded partially as a result of the group’s ability to prove itself as a reliable vendor to Eskom.

“It’s possible that we secured the contract to supply the auxiliary transformers to Kusile based on the successful deliveries accomplished to date within the older Eskom contract,” he says.

Through a different contract awarded by Eskom in 2007, Zest WEG is supplying distribution, generation and transmission transformers ranging from 2.5 MVA to 160 MVA to the power utility as part of its infrastructure upgrade programme to boost capacity and meet growing local demand for power.

The units are being manufactured and tested at WEG in Brazil, the largest transformer manufacturer in Latin America, with Eskom representatives present to witness and approve the test results for each subsequent consignment. After testing, the auxiliary transformers are partially disassembled and packaged for sea freight to the port of Durban, whereby they undergo an initial quality inspection conducted by Zest WEG technical personnel, before being transported by road to the company’s Middelburg branch. Final assembly and oil filling is conducted followed by cold commissioning of each unit prior to final delivery to its temporary plinth at the Kusile site.

Finch says, “Having a presence in the area of the power station has allowed us to receive each consignment of transformers a little earlier than required, ensuring that delivery times are met consistently.”