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Ingula pumped storage scheme

 

Background
The Ingula Pumped Storage Scheme, located within the Little Drakensberg mountain range, 55 km north of Ladysmith, comprises an upper dam (Bedford) and a lower dam (Braamhoek). The upper reservoir site is located in the Free State and the lower reservoir in KwaZulu-Natal. The escarpment forms the border between the two provinces. The distance between the upper and lower reservoirs is 4.6 km, with an elevation difference of about 470 m.  The reservoirs are connected through underground waterways to an underground powerhouse complex, which houses four 333 MW pump turbines with a total capacity of 1 332 MW, and four generator transformers with associated tunnels and shafts.
 
The twin headrace waterways, consisting of concrete and steel-lined headrace tunnels, pressure tunnels and shafts, link the upper reservoir with the pump-turbines. The draft tubes, concrete-lined surge shafts and a single concrete-lined tailrace tunnel connect the pump-turbines to the lower reservoir. The upper reservoir is a concrete-faced rock fill embankment dam, 41m high, with a total capacity of 22.4-million cubic metres and an active water storage volume of 19.2-million cubic metres. The 39m high lower dam is a roller-compacted concrete (RCC), with a total capacity of 26.3-million cubic metres and an active storage volume of 21.9 million cubic metres. The Scheme operates on a weekly cycle and has an overall cycle efficiency of 78%.
 
Where is Ingula
Ingula is situated 55km of Ladysmith, (23km northeast of Van Reenen) within the Drakensberg range, on the border between the Free State and KwaZulu-Natal provinces. It isEskom’s third pumped storage scheme with an output of 1 332MW, mostly used during peak-demand periods. The station began operating in 2016.




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