The make up of Eskoms electricity supply to South Africa
Coal Power – 34,952MW
Eskom has 13 coal-fired power stations which produce the majority of the country’s power –34,952MW.
South Africa has access to cheap coal, but burning coal produces sulphur and nitrogen oxides, radioactive elements, and a lot of ash. This cheap coal is offset by polluting the environment.
Liquid Fuel Power – 2,409MW
Eskom has four liquid fuel turbine stations which produce 2,409MW of power.
Diesel is the primary fuel used.
Nuclear Power – 1,830MW
Koeberg is Eskom’s sole nuclear plant, and produces 1,830MW of power at full capacity.
radioactive waste from Koeberg is stored at Vaal Pits
in the Northern Cape. In June 1997 it was revealed that some uncovered containers had rusted and were leaking radioactivity. The National Nuclear Regulator (NNR) temporarily suspended operations, until the licensing conditions were met by the operators. Water disposal and constructing and maintaining a nuclear plant is also expensive.
Pumped Storage – 1,400MW
Eskom operates two pumped-storage stations which produce 1,400MW of power.
The pumped-storage stations produce electricity in a similar way to hydro stations, using moving water to turn a turbine.
How they differ is that the turbine can be used as a pump to push water to an upper reservoir, which is then released and used to generate power in times of demand.
Hydro Power – 600MW
Eskom has 6 hydro-electric stations in SA, which produce a total of 600MW.
While water is a renewable source of energy, Eskom said SA’s lack of suitable rivers and the impact of the construction of dams are barriers for the building of hydro plants.
Wind Power – 3MW
Eskom has one wind energy station – the Klipheuwel wind farm – which produces 3MW of power.
Wind energy is renewable, clean, and does not produce harmful emissions. Constant wind is not guaranteed, though, and wind generators are expensive to build.
Power plants in the works
Eskom said that besides running the existing 27 stations, it was in the process of building five new power stations in SA.
These stations would add over 11,000MW to the grid.
Medupi: coal-fired power station –
Kusile: coal-fired power station – 4,800MW
Ingula: pumped-storage scheme –
Sere: wind power facility – 100MW
Concentrating Solar Power project –
There are also biomass, wave, and nuclear projects in the planning phase which are being driven by the Department of Energy, said Eskom.
Meanwhile in India, the facility in Kamuthi, Tamil Nadu, has a capacity of 648 megawatts and covers an area of 10 kilometres squares.
This makes it the largest solar power plant at a single location, taking the title from the Topaz Solar Farm in California, which has a capacity of 550 MW.
The solar plant, built in an impressive 8 months, is cleaned every day by a robotic system, itself charged by its own solar panels.
At full capacity it is estimated to produce enough electricity to power approximately 150,000 homes.
The project is comprised of 2.5 million individual solar modules, and cost approximately 679M USD to build.
The new plant has helped nudge India’s total installed solar capacity across the 10 GW mark, according to a statement by research firm ‘Bridge to India’, joining only a handful of countries which can make this claim.
As solar power increases, India is expected to become the world’s third biggest solar market from next year onwards, after China and the US.
Despite the fast-growing solar power industry, India will still need to increase its take-up of solar panels if it is to achieve the ambitious targets set by the government.
By 2022, India aims to power 60 million homes by the sun. It is part of the Indian government’s ambitious targets to produce 40 percent of its power by non-fossil fuels using 2030.
This aim has been praised by environment groups and is hoped will also help reduce the country’s problem with air quality. At the beginning of this month, the pollution in New Delhi reached its worst levels in 17 years.