Cape Town - Eskom has completed the construction of a permanent coal-handling facility at the Majuba power station, which includes the rebuilding and reinforcement of silos and a conveyor system.
In a statement issued on Monday, the power utility said Silo 20 was rebuilt and Silos 10 and 30 were reinforced. This follows the collapse of the coal storage silo at the coal-fired station in Mpumalanga in November 2014.
At the time, Eskom said the silo had cracked. The conveyer belt systems used to feed coal to the power station were also damaged, resulting in load shedding across South Africa.
READ: 'Eskom knew about silo problem'
Before the collapse Majuba supplied 3 600MW of power, roughly 10% of South Africa’s electricity.
To enable coal supply to the station, an immediate solution entailed the installation of mobile feeders on Silos 10 and 30's boiler incline to make it possible to supply coal to the units. This ensured that at least four out of the six boiler incline conveyors could supply coal to the units.
An interim solution was put in place from March 1 2015, involving the construction of a conveyor system that bypassed the coal silos and provided a reliable coal supply to all six units.
READ: Eskom: Majuba recovery exceeds expectations
Construction work for the permanent coal-handling solution commenced at the beginning of February 2016 and was concluded by end-December 2016. The scope for the permanent coal handling solution included the rebuilding of Silo 20, the reinforcement of Silos 10 and 30, a lift shaft, two piers and the coal conveyor system.
In Monday’s statement, Eskom group executive for group capital Abram Masango said the completion of the project will go a long way towards ensuring a reliable electricity supply to enable economic growth.
Despite the refurbishments at Majuba, Eskom is facing increased pressure to start complying with commitments made under the Paris Agreement, which will require South Africa to start reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
READ: The crossroads of power
New plant minimum emissions standards for coal-fired power stations will commence in 2020.
Although Eskom has obtained postponement of compliance for some of its coal power stations, South Africa’s climate change commitments are expected to place strain on the utility’s dirty coal fleet and finances.
Eskom also has to start decommissioning and retrofitting many of its ageing coal-fired power stations to comply with regulation, which will entail significant capital spending. Read Fin24's top stories trending on Twitter: