National Air Quality Officer Grants Eskom Postponement for Kusile Power Station Emissions Standards

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The National Air Quality Officer (NAQO) has granted Eskom a postponement for meeting Minimum Emission Standards (MES) at the Kusile power station. The new deadline is now set for 31 March 2025, instead of the initial date of 5 June 2023. The decision was made after Kusile’s west stack failed on 23 October 2022, impacting the ability of the station to operate three generating units, each producing 700 MW, totalling 2100 MW. Eskom plans to implement a short-term solution to restore the station’s capacity and minimize load shedding.

Temporary Solution to Restore Capacity

To address the situation, Eskom will construct three temporary stacks that bypass the Flue Gas Desulphurisation (FGD) plant while repairing the affected stack. Once operational, the temporary stacks will restore 2100 MW to the grid, reducing load shedding.

Strict Conditions for Postponement

Before granting the postponement, the NAQO and the Nkangala District Municipality evaluated the potential health and environmental impacts and the implications for electricity supply. The postponement was granted with strict conditions, including measures to mitigate the exposure of sulphur dioxide to employees and surrounding communities. Eskom must also submit a detailed plan outlining the mitigation measures it will implement within 21 days of the decision. Both the NAQO and the Nkangala District Municipality must approve this plan. Eskom is required to provide quarterly progress reports on its compliance roadmap and commitments to the Flue Gas Desulphurisation recommencement.

Compliance and Review

The decision must be reflected in Kusile’s Power Station AEL to have any force and effect. Eskom must comply with any other requirements imposed by the Nkangala District Municipality. During the postponement period, the NAQO, with the concurrence of the Nkangala District Municipality, may review the decision in accordance with the provisions of the National Environmental Management Air Quality Act.

Balancing Health, Environment, and Electricity Supply

The decision to grant Eskom a postponement for meeting the MES at Kusile power station reflects a delicate balance between addressing health and environmental concerns and ensuring a stable electricity supply. By imposing strict conditions, the NAQO and the Nkangala District Municipality aim to hold Eskom accountable while allowing it to rectify the situation at Kusile power station. As Eskom works toward meeting the new deadline, stakeholders will be keeping a watchful eye on its progress, hoping to see effective measures in place to mitigate the impacts on human health and the environment.

A Russian-Spanish journalist and Cape Town native, channels his lifelong passion for South Africa into captivating stories for his local blog. With a diverse background and 50 years of rich experiences, Serjio's unique voice resonates with readers seeking to explore Cape Town's vibrant culture. His love for the city shines through in every piece, making Serjio the go-to source for the latest in South African adventures.

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