President Jacob Zuma re-opened the Grootvlei Power Station in Balfour, Mpumalanga, on Friday, after the station was mothballed two decades ago.
“Grootvlei power station adds to the progress we are making with Eskom's return-to-service projects,” Zuma said in a statement.
“We are pleased that this station, which was built in the late 1960s and was mothballed in 1990 due to excess power at the time, is being returned to service following the R7.2 billion upgrade.”
Zuma said the re-opened station would contribute to keeping the lights on and would help reverse the electricity difficulties the country had been experiencing since 2007.
The 1200MW Grootvlei Power Station has six 200MW generating units.
It was first commissioned in 1969 with six units but three units were mothballed in 1989 due to lack of demand for electricity and the rest in 1990.
“The return to service of this power station will also contribute to easing the electricity demand requirements on the national grid by providing maintenance space for other power stations,” said Zuma.
South Africa continued to grow over the years, necessitating Eskom to build new power stations, return previously mothballed stations to service, and increase the current capacity of some power stations.
The Presidential Infrastructure Co-ordinating Commission prioritised infrastructure development because the roads, railways, ports, pipelines, airports, dams, power stations, transmission, and distributions lines formed the backbone for economic growth and also contributed to an improvement in the quality of life, said Zuma.
Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba said government remained committed to ensure that Eskom was able to satisfy the electricity demand in the country and was aware that Eskom had many problems related to plant maintenance.
“As government, we are confident that we can turn things around with the measures and strategies we have put in place to make sure that electricity supply capacity grows to meet rising demand as our country pursues its growth rate targets.”
Gigaba said since the beginning of its capacity expansion programme, Eskom had delivered the new electricity infrastructure the country needed to support economic growth and development. -Sapa