Eskom’s Diesel Costs Drop, Power Stability Plan Succeeds

CEO Marokane Highlights Major Cut in Diesel Spending

by Adenike Adeodun

Eskom CEO Dan Marokane has dismissed claims that the utility is avoiding load-shedding through excessive diesel use. In May, Eskom spent R285 million on diesel, significantly less than the R2.8 billion spent in May 2023, and well below the R1.7 billion budgeted for the month.

Speaking at the South African National Energy Association AGM, Marokane attributed Eskom’s avoidance of rotational power cuts over 71 days, including a competitive election period, to the Generation Recovery Plan initiated in March 2023.

“Over the last three weeks, I’ve heard talk about a sudden performance shift or dramatic improvement,” Marokane said. “As an engineer, I can tell you, nothing happens dramatically with these systems.”

He credited the improved performance of Eskom’s coal fleet to the diligent execution of the recovery plan by Eskom employees and original equipment manufacturers. The R254 billion debt relief package from the National Treasury provided the financial stability needed for these efforts.

Private partners participating in the National Energy Crisis Committee’s first workstream, along with support from government leaders, also played a crucial role. Marokane noted that unplanned breakdowns had stayed below 12,000 MW for two weeks, recently dipping below 10,000 MW. This is well under the 15,500 MW threshold that would trigger Stage 2 load-shedding in Eskom’s winter outlook.

However, Marokane cautioned that eliminating load-shedding entirely would require building new capacity by private generators and Eskom itself. Eskom plans to add renewable energy and pumped-storage capacity, partnering with the private sector. These projects have been “decoupled” from the decommissioning of coal stations, which has been extended to address supply shortfalls and allow for more community consultation.

Eskom’s spending on diesel dropped dramatically in May compared to the same month last year. This significant reduction demonstrates the success of the Generation Recovery Plan and the collaborative efforts of Eskom employees, private partners, and government officials.

The power utility’s focus on long-term solutions, including adding renewable energy and pumped-storage capacity, shows a commitment to stabilizing South Africa’s power supply and reducing reliance on fossil fuels. As Eskom continues to implement these plans, the goal of ending load-shedding appears more achievable.

Marokane emphasized that while the recent improvements are promising, sustained efforts and strategic investments are crucial. Eskom’s partnership with the private sector will be vital in achieving these goals and ensuring a reliable power supply for South Africa.

In summary, Eskom’s reduction in diesel spending and the success of the Generation Recovery Plan highlight the utility’s progress in addressing power supply challenges. With ongoing efforts to increase renewable energy capacity, Eskom is on a path to greater stability and sustainability.

Source: Mining Weekly

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