Johannesburg, South Africa — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 26 October 2011 – The warning that there could be a further delay to the start up of the first generating set at Eskom’s 4,800MW Medupi power station underlines the knife-edge situation still facing South Africa’s future power supply, reports Miningmx.
Medupi is the first of two coal-fired power stations being built by Eskom that are on the critical path to meet rising demand for power in the medium term through to 2017.
The start-up of Medupi has already been delayed by six months to the end of 2012, while the start-up of the second station – Kusile – has been pushed back by a year to end 2014/beginning 2015.
Eskom CEO Brian Dames has now warned about the possibility of a further delay at Medupi because of problems with Hitachi, which has the contract to build and install the boilers at the station.
Eskom will not elaborate on the specific implications of any delay at this stage, stating only that it will be able to provide a clearer picture on 23 November when it releases its 2011 interim results.
But you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to work out what could happen, says Miningmx. Apart from the possibility of further power black-outs, any additional delays in supplying the promised new power could have a negative impact on the development of projects to which Eskom has committed itself to supply power.
It is cold comfort that Eskom has pointed out one factor working in its favour – the slow-down in the South African economy which could drop forecast demand for electricity. Further delays in supplying power could result in companies either shelving or delaying projects they were trying to get off the ground, or moving them to other locations where power is available.