Citizen Reporter
1 minute read
19 Apr 2018
6:05 am

Eskom’s coal shortage problems explained

Citizen Reporter

The quality of the coal becomes a major issue because Eskom power stations are very particular about the grade of coal needed for power generation.

Eskom power station (File pic: Eskom website)

Roger Lilley, editor of Energise Magazine at EE Publishers, explains the coal shortage at power stations and why their current solutions will cost the utility even more in the long term: “Each power station has its own coal supply, usually from a mine that is close by.

“What is happening now is they are bringing coal from other mines, because of mine closures or the mines are unable to supply the quantity or the quality of coal supplies that is needed to generate electricity.

“That means they have to bring coal from other mines, either by truck or by train, depending on the proximity of a railway line, so it’s an operational matter between the mines and the power stations.

“The quality of the coal becomes an issue, because Eskom power stations are very particular about the grade of coal, which can cause issues with the boiler.

“If a particular mine is unable to produce that grade, they have to look for coal from other mines. It is presently becoming an issue at the Hendrina power station.

“The problem is that Eskom is very close-lipped in terms of providing in-depth data.”

“[Colleague] Chris Yelland [editor of EE Publishers] gets information from other sources and it invariably gets proven right.”

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