General

Eskom welcomes decision to temporarily bypass pollution rules

Eskom says it welcomes the decision to exempt it from certain requirements in terms of its application to build temporary stacks at Kusile Power Station.

The Forestry, Fisheries and Environment Minister, Barbara Creecy, announced this week that Eskom has been granted an exemption from the lengthy process required to amend its Atmospheric Emission License, subject to certain strict conditions.

The application had been brought due to the urgent need to alleviate the electricity crisis in the country.

This follows a failure of the Unit 1 flue gas duct on 22 October 2022, which subsequently affected units 2 and 3 as the ducts for all these three units are welded together.

“The exemption given does not provide Eskom approval to operate the temporary stacks. The exemption allows Eskom to submit its application to operate the stacks based on presently available information and with a reduced public participation process.

“Based on the exemption provided by the Minister, Eskom intends to submit its final application for approval to operate the temporary stacks, to the relevant authorities in April 2023,” Eskom explained.

Approval of the final application, according to Eskom, means it will be able to operate the three units without the use of the flue gas desulphurisation (FDG) mechanism, which is an emission-abatement technology, for 13 months while the flue gas ducts are being repaired.

“The repair of the damaged stacks will be completed by December 2024 and during this time the necessary steps will be implemented to mitigate the impact of sulfur dioxide emissions on air quality.”

According to Eskom, the temporary structure will be completed by the end of November 2023, which will enable the return of 2 100MW.

This will further alleviate pressure on the power system and reduce load shedding by almost two stages.

“Eskom will comply with the conditions of the exemption.”

Source: South African Government News Agency