Eskom is anticipating sourcing some 900 MW of power from independent power producers (IPPs) this winter, as the system continues to remain tight and vulnerable. Any shift on the power system could result in a shortage of supply, which could result in Eskom invoking its emergency protocols.

This winter in South Africa, which covers June, July and August, will see peak demand touch near 36.0 GW, particularly during the evening peak from 5pm to 9pm. The increase is predominantly due to the use of space heating, geysers and cooking that takes place during this time.

Eskom says that while it continues with its planned maintenance programme, this is being ramped down from June for the winter. Among the IPP sources of additional power for the utility are Kelvin power station (150 MW), Aggreko (148 MW), short term IPPs (300 MW).

Of the 21 renewable IPPs connected to the grid, 10 projects (312 MW) have achieved their contractual Commercial Operation Date (COD) and three projects are generating Early Operating Energy. It is expected that the last project of bid window one will be on stream by no later than the first half of 2015.

However, while the number of renewable energy IPPs that are connected to the grid continues to grow and contribute to meeting the country’s energy demands, the contribution over peak is currently not substantial.

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