Thursday, 05 August 2021

Pretoria: South Africa has already experienced 650 hours in power outages in the first half of 2021 where 963 Gigawatts hours (GWh) of estimated energy was shed, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) said.

“Intensive load shedding has been experienced in the first half of 2021 alone. This is 76% of the total load shedding experienced during 2020,” the CSIR.

The organisation said the blackouts were dominated by Stage 2 load shedding.

These findings are contained in the CSIR’s statistics of utility-scale power generation in South Africa.

According to the data report, the first half of 2021 (H1-2021) presents the extent of load shedding already experienced while highlighting the growing role of clean energy.

The H1-2021 statistics showed that system demand peaked by 5.0% in H1-2021 relative to H1-2020 but was 2.2% lower than H1-2019.

“Based on data originally published by Eskom, insights are provided on a technology-specific daily, weekly and monthly electricity production, actual load shedding experienced in H1-2021 as well as flexibility needs of the power system.”

The CSIR said the extent of power cuts was largely driven by a declining Energy Availability Factor (EAF) of the existing coal fleet where overall the EAF was 61.3% for H1-2021 relative to 65% in 2020 and 66.9% in 2019.

“A concerning shift of the unplanned outage component of the EAF 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 H1-2021.”

According to the report, coal continues to dominate the South African energy mix contributing 81.8% to the national energy mix in H1-2021, as an additional coal unit at Kusile Power Station entered into commercial operation.

“The contribution from renewable energy sources totalled almost 11%, which includes solar PV, wind, hydro, Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) and others, while zero-carbon energy sources contributed 14.3%.” the CSIR said.