As the rustic reels below 4 days of continuous Level 6 load losing (and counting), Eskom has been resolute in following its deliberate repairs agenda, although this eliminates further era capability from provider.
On Wednesday, it had 5 739MW of capability offline because of repairs when Level 6 kicked in “till additional understand”. It ran higher-than-normal repairs right through the festive length, with this peaking within the ultimate week of the yr at 17% of its put in capability – equivalent to about 8 000MW.
Whilst it’s tempting to argue that repairs should be deferred in order that coal devices may also be run (even at diminished capability) to stay the lighting fixtures on, Eskom executives argue that this technique will best create even larger issues down the road.
It did on the other hand appear to – thru all to be had coal devices– with the intention to keep away from load losing on Christmas Day, as this newsletter explains.
Ultimate yr, Eskom shared charts that display it minimize general repairs of its coal fleet dramatically between 2016 and 2018.
Clearly, the power availability issue (EAF; a measure of to be had producing capability) of its energy stations soared – to just about 80% (from below 75% sooner than this variation in tack).
Evidently, this was once unsustainable.
Have an effect on
One of the vital problems at Eskom’s fleet nowadays may also be traced again to the loss of repairs 5 years in the past.
Since his appointment in December 2019, outgoing Eskom CEO André de Ruyter has prioritised the software’s reliability repairs restoration programme, with the intention to flip across the efficiency of its growing old energy stations.
This took a while to ascertain and put in force; by way of September 2020, Eskom had authorized all outage capex till the present monetary yr (FY2023). Lengthy lead instances on spares (and the provision of price range) intended that sure tasks may just best be completed years later.
Eskom’s personal information from the remaining 4 calendar years displays that whilst there was once a noticeable soar within the quantity of repairs in 2020 (following De Ruyter’s appointment), this has since slowly trended down.
Within the yr previous to him becoming a member of, the yearly moderate for deliberate repairs was once 9.94% of put in capability. In 2020, this jumped to 11.24% sooner than declining to ten.8% in 2021 and to ten.61% remaining yr. It will have to be famous that 2020 was once impacted by way of the Covid-19 pandemic and regardless of Eskom being designated an very important provider, sure repairs tasks had been deferred.
Breakdowns (the so-called unplanned outage issue) are up by way of nearly 50% from across the 20% degree in 2020 to just about 30% remaining yr.
This translated to a report yr of load losing, with energy cuts on 208 days in 2022 (together with near-continuous load losing between early September and New Yr’s Eve).
Eskom’s EAF (unaudited) was once simply 58% remaining yr – the primary time it has dropped beneath 60%. For the coal fleet, this quantity was once beneath 50%.
Spectacular, however …
On paper, the numbers for Eskom’s repairs in the previous couple of weeks of the yr glance spectacular.
Within the remaining week of November, best 9% of its fleet (on moderate) was once offline because of repairs. Through the tip of the yr, this had just about doubled to 17% (as opposed to 13.8% in 2021).
Within the first week of 2023, this above moderate degree was once sustained with roughly 14% of the fleet out of provider on account of repairs.
Nonetheless, you will need to notice that Koeberg Unit 1 started a long-term outage for its steam generator alternative on 10 December.
This eliminates round 900MW of capability from the grid and, on account of its measurement, will distort the deliberate outage issue; it is the same as between (just about) one and 4 coal devices, relying at the energy station.
Additionally, Koeberg Unit 2 was once offline for prolonged repairs and refuelling for lots of the yr (between January and September), additional inflating the upkeep figures for 2022.
Unit 1 will probably be out of provider till midyear, whereafter Unit 2 will probably be taken offline for its steam generator alternative (a significant challenge for its existence extension, which was once deferred by way of Eskom from remaining yr). Each devices want to have this paintings completed by way of 2024 to ensure that their working licences to be renewed by way of the regulator. (This will likely additionally make the upkeep determine for 2023 seem larger than ordinary).
In the end, a complete 720MW from Medupi Unit 4 has been integrated within the deliberate repairs figures from September 2021. This unit was once blown to smithereens in an coincidence in August that yr. Ordinarily, Eskom should depend this as a breakdown nevertheless it shifted it to ‘deliberate repairs’ as there’s no prospect of this producing capability being returned to provider from what it euphemistically calls a “long run compelled outage” sooner than August 2024.
The distortion from Medupi 4 makes the upkeep image glance much better than it if truth be told is.
One would possibly contend that it’s exactly on account of the long-term outages at Koeberg that it didn’t have the headroom remaining yr (and gained’t within the subsequent 18 months) to do as a lot repairs at the coal fleet because it wants or needs to.
Plan vs development
The figures on the other hand don’t lie …
In its remaining monetary yr (to 31 March 2022), Eskom finished 47 of the 84 outages below its reliability repairs restoration programme. An additional seven had been being carried out at year-end, and it carried out an extra 47 momentary outages. One was once cancelled and 29 deferred to this monetary yr because of “investment and capability constraints in addition to execution demanding situations”.
Within the present monetary yr it had, by way of the tip of September, finished 16 and was once busy executing 13 of its 79 outages below the programme. Seven had been cancelled, 16 had been deferred to inside the fiscal, 8 to FY2024, and 19 had been closing.
To show round efficiency of its coal fleet, those numbers merely must strengthen on the ones from prior years. We can know by way of Would possibly how neatly it has fared towards its plan.
Regardless, as a result of any positive aspects from progressed ranges and high quality of repairs will best be observed within the years forward, De Ruyter gained’t be round to take the credit score.
Possibly the ‘new’ minister will.