Electricity : Ingula progress an indication of South Africa's legacy

Ladysmith - Progress made at Eskom’s Ingula Pumped Storage Scheme plant is evident of South Africa’s democratic legacy that supports economic growth and development, says President Jacob Zuma.

“Ingula represents a legacy of a democratic South Africa, it supports economic growth and development of the country and ensures electricity supply and diversifies our energy mix,” President Zuma said on Wednesday. He was speaking at the commercialisation of the units at the station.

Progress made at Ingula -- which means froth on top of fresh milk -- continues to inspire investor sentiment in South Africa.

The pumped storage scheme is one of government’s flagship infrastructure projects. It is a 1 332 MW scheme that contributes comprising of four units of 333 MW each.

President Zuma, who toured the plant which he described as being unique, said it was a wonderful experience to be at the plant again. He had previously visited the plant located on the cross border of the Free State and KwaZulu-Natal, in November 2012, where he unveiled a plaque at the premises of the tightly guarded plant.

South Africa, he noted, has come a long way since the dark days of load shedding, adding that the country should be proud of the fourth largest pumped storage scheme in the world.

“Today as South Africans we stand tall and proud as we register further progress in our quest to energy security. This time last year the country was faced by serious energy shortages. Our people were frustrated by load shedding,” he said.

Speaking at the ceremony held inside a large marquee at the plant, President Zuma agreed with Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown, who accompanied him on his visit, that Eskom has made progress and that he was not concerned by load shedding that previously plagued South Africa.

“Being a lay man about electricity what worried me most was the announcement of the stages of load shedding,” he said, adding that he is glad that load shedding is a thing of the past.

Eskom’s stability

Minister Brown added that the power utility is now on sound operational footing.

Eskom’s management, which include the appointment of Group Chief Executive Brian Molefe, has also played a role in turning around the fortunes at Eskom.

“We’ve come together to launch Ingula. Eskom has been forging ahead to fast track the building of infrastructure that will give the much needed energy security,” said President Zuma.

Eskom has synchronised Unit 1, 2 and 3 of the facility ahead of schedule.

“Unit four has been commissioned in winter contributing to stability of the system,” said President Zuma.

Synchronisation is the process where after construction and commissioning the unit it is connected to the electricity grid for the first time. After synchronisation further optimisation and testing takes place to ensure the unit’s safety and reliability. The unit is then declared commercial.

On completion, the plant of which construction began in 2005, will feed more than 1300 MW to South Africa’s power system.

It will renew quality of life for citizens.

The plant has injected far more than R3.5 billion into local economies and has created thousands of jobs with 55% of the total Ingula labour force being from local municipalities in the Free State and KwaZulu-Natal.

“The scheme is moving SA to extending electricity access to all households,” said President Zuma of the plant that is located in lush greenery.

He said access to electricity improves the quality of life of people. “It’s our commitment to improve the quality of lives of our people,” said President Zuma.

Abram Masango, group executive, said the plant has been contributing to the energy grid this winter.

President Zuma also paid tribute to workers who lost their lives while working at the plant. In 2013, six construction workers lost their lives at the plant when a platform on wheels broke loose from its hinges.

Find out more about Eskom’s Ingula Pumped Storage Scheme here: http://www.eskom.co.za/Whatweredoing/NewBuild/IngulaPumpedStorage/Pages/... or here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ingula_Pumped_Storage_Scheme

READ RELATED ARTICLES / REFERENCES : http://architectafrica.com/category/social-tags/ingula-pumped-storage-sc...