State-owned electricity utility Eskom is planning to invest some R149-billion over the coming ten years on transmission projects designed to bolster network reliability and integrate new generation capacity into the power grid.
The investment forecast is outlined in the latest ‘Transmission Ten-Year Development Plan: 2013-2022’, which has been published in line with the South African Grid Code and is the fourth ten-year plan to be released by Eskom.
Group transmission executive Mongezi Ntsokolo says the investments will seek to ensure that the network complies with the minimum reliability criteria and is ready to integrate new Eskom and independent power producer (IPP) generation capacity and connect new demand centres.
Some R121-billion has been set aside for projects designed to improve the reliability of the network, another R25-billion for programmes aimed at integrating new power generation projects, such as the Medupi, Kusile and renewable-energy projects, and about R3-billion is for customer-related projects.
The costs outlined are described as high-level estimates that could change.
All told, the transmission division expects to add some 12 700 km of new transmission lines, which would be almost equivalent to adding 50% to the existing 28 000 km network. It is expected that 8 631 km of new 400 kV capacity will be installed by 2022, with the balance being 3 700 km of 765 kV lines and 402 km of 275 kV lines.
Also planned is the introduction of an additional 83 500 MVA of transformer capacity and 2 600 megavolt-ampere reactive (MVAr) of capacitive support and 9 200 MVAr of reactors.
Refurbishments and repairs also feature strongly in the plan, with Eskom noting that the bulk of the transmission network and many of the existing 100 substations were constructed between the years 1960 and 1980.
In fact, besides the R149-billion for the capacity expansion of the transmission division it also expects to spend R12.2-billion on refurbishment projects and R2.3-billion on capital spares over the period.
In addition, Eskom is budgeting a further R4.7-billion for the acquisitions of servitudes and the completion of environmental–impact assessments, as well as a further R4.5-billion for production equipment and another R1.7-billion for strategic projects.