South Africa’s Gauteng to increase capacity of existing coal-fired power plants

South Africa‘s Gauteng province, which includes Johannesburg, aims to add 1200 MW to its grid by increasing the generation capacity of its existing coal-fired power stations, according to Premier David Makhura.

In his State of the Province speech this week, Makhura (pictured) said his administration has been “working with municipalities to finalize plans” to bring the additional capacity online as South Africa’s government-owned utility Eskom struggles to meet demand.

The plants in question include the 300 MW Rooiwal, the 180 MW Pretoria West, and the 600 MW Kelvin plant in Johannesburg.

Gauteng spokesman Thabo Masebe was quoted as saying that no timeframe has been established for the work, but that existing power plants in the Tshwane municipality, which includes Pretoria, “can easily produce 1200 MW” if operated at full capacity.

Gauteng’s plans have not yet been finalized, but Masebe told the Bloomberg news service that they could include direct investment in the power plants or partnerships with the private sector. à‚ 

Eskom, which provides around 95 per cent of South Africa’s power, had begun load shedding earlier this month in an effort to prevent grid collapse after a unit of its Koeberg nuclear power plant was shut down due to a technical fault. à‚ 

In his speech, Makhura detailed further plans for energy security and diversification in Gauteng, including installing solar photovoltaic (PV) panels on government buildings to generate up to 500 MW; implementing a programme to retrofit coal-fired boilers with natural gas; a tri-generation programme for six hospitals; a waste-to-energy programme, and increased energy efficiency measures for hospitals and government buildings.

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