The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research and the Department of Minerals and Energy have estimated that Stage 2 load-shedding costs the economy R150-million an hour.
This is posing a threat to South Africa’s economic recovery from Covid-19 and it is critical to fast-track emergency procurement of additional energy generation to plug the short-term supply gap, says powership provider Karpowership.
Karpowership has five powerships, which are fully self-contained floating power stations, ready for deployment to South Africa. Should it be given instruction to proceed, Karpowership is ready to begin supplying electricity to the South African grid within two months, it states.
The powerships operate on regasified liquid natural gas (LNG) and can provide up to 2 GW of additional power to the national grid within five months.
This could help South Africa avoid two stages of load-shedding during peak periods and when unplanned breakdowns occur at the country's coal-fired power plants.
Last week saw an increase in breakdowns, with six generation units taken off the grid, which resulted in the constrained power situation and Eskom having to resume load-shedding.
Eskom has said the country’s grid will remain unstable and unpredictable up to August 2021, while it implements its philosophy maintenance plan to fix its aging fleet of coal plants and procures new energy sources.
To try to avoid load-shedding, the State-owned power utility has been using its expensive peaking plants for extended periods of time.
Karpowership says powerships are a far more cost-effective way to procure and deliver electricity.
Using LNG, powerships produce electricity at a cost of about R1.70/kWh. This price is an all-inclusive delivered cost of electricity including all capital costs such as fuel and equipment, as well all operation and maintenance costs.
By using powerships, Eskom could save around R28-billion in a year, says Karpowership.
It further notes that using LNG as the fuel source ensures that electricity is derived from a clean source of energy, generating 30% less carbon dioxide than liquid fuel and about 55% less than coal.