The first and second phase of State-owned power utility Eskom’s power delivery project will build transmission lines in key areas of the country to strengthen the national power transmission grid. The project includes the upgrading of substations and installing new transformers that can handle the increased transmission voltages, the utility reports in its update on its capacity build programme.
The projects will see the Nelson Mandela Bay transmission grid, in the Eastern Cape province, strengthened with 400-kV lines, and Polokwane, in Limpopo province, will get 275-kV and 400-kV power lines. Both the upgrades will be completed by the end of 2010.
The utility also aims to complete the construction of a 765-kV line, in the Empangeni area, in Mpumalanga province, by the end of 2011, which it will operate at 400 kV until demand increases.
In the Western Cape, Eskom aims to have strengthened the province’s grid with a 765-kV transmission project from the Zeus substation, in Mpumalanga province, 1 461 km to the Omega substation, near Koeberg, in the Western Cape, by mid-2012, the company says.
The 400 kV from the Medupi power station project and the 400 kV from the Ingula pumped-storage scheme project are expected to be integrated into the national grid by the end of 2013. The 400-kV network into Mthatha will be on stream by mid-2012 and the strengthening of the Eastern Cape region up to East London will be completed by 2013.
The strengthening of the network in the north of Johan-nesburg will be completed by the end of 2010. The completion of the first phase of the Vaal strengthening project is expected by end-2011, and will be followed by the second phase by end-2012.
The capacity build programme update also reports that, owing to the financial constraints in 2009, certain project plans have had to be put on hold for between six months and nine months. Other major constraints have been the lack of access owing to problems with landowners and ongoing network outage cancellations, as well as the unusually wet weather conditions that prevented contractors from working.