70 www. bus- ex. com December 09 ancient baobab tree believed to be several hundred years old. A lengthy process was initiated to relocate the tree to the entrance of the power station where it will continue to be a local landmark. Meanwhile, at Kusile, two heritage sites were preserved and some 205 graves were relocated. An extensive programme to improve the transmission line network has also been underway for the past four years. During that time, some 1,962 kilometres of high- voltage transmission lines have been installed and a new ultra high- voltage line to the Cape is under construction. Meanwhile, refurbishment of the Apollo substation is expected to increase the availability of the Cahora Bassa/ Apollo DC interconnection, and a total of 10 new transformers have been installed. These major construction projects are part of a long-term investment that will enable Eskom to meet South Africa's power needs in the future. However, steps had to be taken urgently to provide extra capacity to relieve pressure on the grid and to do this, the company has done several things. It has been working to bring back into service three coal- fired power stations which had been mothballed in the late 1980s/ early 1990s. The Camden power station is now back on line and delivering 1,440 megawatts of power to the grid, while the Grootvlei and Komati stations are currently in the process of being re- commissioned. In addition, two new open cycle gas turbine stations were commissioned in October 2007 and have subsequently been further expanded: Ankerlig can now deliver up to 1,327 megawatts to the grid when " An ambitious programme of construction was initiated some four years ago, with the aim of delivering more than 14,600 megawatts of additional power by 2017, and to double the current capacity by 2028"
Eskom December 09 www. bus- ex. com 71 required, and Gourikwa can deliver up to 740 megawatts. Power is generated in South Africa by a variety of methods. However, the majority of the base- load power- that which provides the steady day- to- day demand- is currently generated by coal- fired power stations which operate 24 hours a day. When the three mothballed power stations are fully operational again, they will boost coal- fired generation nominal capacity by some 3,720 megawatts, bringing the company's total coal- fired power generation nominal capacity to 37,773 megawatts. This will bring the number of operational coal- fired power stations to 13. Eleven of them are located in Mpumalanga Province, one in Free State and one in Northern Province. Interestingly, Eskom also operates the only nuclear power station in Africa. Located in the Western Cape, the Koeberg plant contributes 1,800 megawatts to the base load power supplied to the grid. Capacity is then boosted by two hydroelectric power stations and two hydro pumped storage schemes, which kick into production whenever there is a peak in demand which exceeds the normal capacity, and together they can contribute an extra 2,000 megawatts. And finally, four quick reaction gas turbine power stations producing a total of 2,409 megawatts can be brought into action during extreme emergencies- Gourikwa and Ankerlig being two of these. However, gas turbine power stations have very high operating costs, so these power stations are generally used only as a last resort. Eskom has not remained immune to the difficult global economic situation, and the company has had to postpone several projects that were to have been included in this first phase of expansion. One of the casualties was a proposed 100 megawatt wind farm in the Northern Cape. However, the company is fully committed to increasing its capacity, supporting South Africa's growth in the future and is well on the way to doubling the current 40,000 megawatt capacity to 80,000 megawatts by 2028. - Editorial research by Sam Howard Every business aspires to be excellent, but by definition, only a few can ever achieve that status. Even fewer can sustain it. A business that is excellent today can be overtaken tomorrow if it does not commit to continuous improvement. As others improve, standing still means moving backwards. Businessexcellence ACHIEVING ONLINE