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Eskom's energy availability factor and the road to stability

South Africa's Minister in the Presidency responsible for Electricity, Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, looks on during his visit to the Kusile coal-fired power plant near Emalahleni, S   -  
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Themba Hadebe/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.

South Africa

Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa recently expressed optimism about the state of Eskom's energy availability factor (EAF), citing a climb to 65 percent. This represents a notable increase from the previous week's 61 percent.

Eskom previously achieved a 70 percent EAF milestone in March 2023, shortly before issuing a dire warning of Stage 8 blackouts in the upcoming winter months. May 2023 witnessed an unprecedented level of load shedding, with a majority of days marked by Stage 5 or Stage 6 outages.

While the recent increase in EAF is indeed a positive development, Eskom's focus now shifts to maintaining and enhancing this performance. CEO Dan Marokane highlighted a renewed emphasis on maintenance, leading to improved reliability and fewer breakdowns across Eskom's generating units.

Marokane added that Eskom hopes to reduce unplanned outages across its fleet by another 1 700MW before winter.

Furthermore, the return of Medupi Unit 4, Koeberg Unit 2, and the synchronization of Kusile Unit 6 are expected to contribute an additional 2,580MW to the grid over the next six months, potentially mitigating the risk of peak load shedding.

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