A student studies using candle light during load shedding. Picture: Reuters
A student studies using candle light during load shedding. Picture: Reuters

Eskom load shedding last year worst since 2015

By Rapula Moatshe Time of article published Aug 10, 2021

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Pretoria - The rolling blackouts implemented by Eskom last year have been recorded as the worst to hit the country since 2015, according to a CSIR report.

While the report captured power sector statistics for the first half of 2021, it also drew comparisons with load shedding previously experienced by millions of South Africans.

According to the report, the country experienced power-cuts for 650 hours in the first half of 2021, from January to June.

During that period 963 Gigawatt of estimated energy was shed, mostly during the Stage 2 load shedding.

The report noted that the amount of power shed in the first half was 76% of the total load shedding experienced during 2020, wherein a total of 859 hours of outages and 1,798 Gigawatt hours of energy was shed.

CSIR spokesperson David Mandaha said the report presented the information about the extent of load shedding already experienced, and also highlighted the growing role of clean energy.

The 2020 outages were recorded as the highest calculation since 2015, when the duration of power outages was 852 hours.

Mandaha said: "The extent of load shedding experienced was largely driven by a declining energy availability factor of the existing coal fleet where overall was 61.3% for H1-2021 (relative to 65% in 2020 and 66.9% in 2019).

“The concerning shift of the unplanned outage component of the energy availability factor has also been highlighted, where unplanned outages of up to 15 300 MW were experienced, and were greater than 10 000 MW for more than 80% of the first half of 2021.”

The statistics on the first-half of 2021 showed that system demand increased by 5.0% in the first half of this year, compared to the same time 2020, but was 2.2% lower than 2019.

"Coal continues to dominate the South African energy mix, contributing 81.8% to the national energy mix in the first half of 2021, as an additional coal unit at Kusile power station entered into commercial operation.

“The contribution from renewable energy sources totalled almost 11% (solar PV, wind, hydro, concentrating solar power, among others) while zero-carbon energy sources contributed 14.3% (renewables and nuclear)," Mandaha said.

He said that based on data originally published by Eskom, "insights are provided on technology specific daily, weekly and monthly electricity production, actual load shedding experienced in the first half of this year 2021, as well as flexibility needs of the power system".

"South Africa unfortunately experienced load shedding for 650 hours in the first half of the year 2021 (15% of the time) wherein 963 Gigawatt of estimated energy was shed (mostly Stage 2 load shedding). This is 76% of the total load shedding experienced during 2020," Mandaha said.

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