Wednesday, 08 March 2017: In January 2017 Eskom announced
that the last and final generating unit of the Ingula Pumped Storage Scheme -
unit 3, came into commercial operation adding an extra 333MW into the national
electricity grid. This means that together with unit 1, 2 and 4 that were
already in commercial operation from the mid to latter part of 2016, Eskom
succeeded in adding a total of 1332MW to the grid, thereby powering the South
African nation and its economy.
Ingula Pumped Storage Scheme is situated on the continental watershed known as
the Klein Drakensberg, dividing the Vaal catchments which flows into the
Atlantic Ocean and the Tugela Catchments flowing into the Indian Ocean.
site is situated across two provincial boundaries namely the Free State and
KwaZulu-Natal Provinces. The natural setting of the Ingula Pumped Storage
Scheme results in a very high biodiversity with ecosystems including the
natural Highveld grasslands, high altitude Wilge River Wetlands and the high
altitude forests that can be seen in the valleys formed by the escarpment.
Eskom and its partners envisioned sustainable conservation of the natural
setting of Ingula by declaring the site as a nature reserve. For Eskom, the
conservation and protection of the environment is seen as the second
operational task at Ingula, other than producing electricity,” said Group
Executive for Group Capital Abram Masango.
years, Eskom has utilised the new build projects to support government’s
aspirations of improving the lives of its citizens especially at local
government level. At least more than 2000 of
the Ingula labour force were recruited from local communities and
municipalities in the KwaZulu-Natal and Free State provinces. At peak there
were more than 4000 workers on site. Ingula has spent R6.27 billion
towards black women-owned enterprises, black youth-owned enterprises and small
and medium enterprises, exceeding many of the national targets set in these
categories,” adds Masango.
constructed Ingula’s four units (333MW each) which are located 350 metres
underground in the world’s largest machine hall in mud-rock. To turn more than
500 ton rotating mass of the Generator Rotor and Turbine, water is released
from Ingula’s upper dam, Bedford Dam, situated 460 metres higher and two
kilometers away. At peak
flow the equivalent volume of eight Olympic-size swimming pools passes through
the turbines every minute. Ingula can respond to demand
increases on the National Grid within two-and-a-half minutes. It is
Africa’s newest and largest (in terms of capacity) pumped storage scheme and
the 14th largest (in terms of capacity) in the world.
Official opening of Ingula Unit 4: by his Excellency President Jacob Zuma and
Minister Lynne Brown in July 2016.
2016, the Ingula project won two prestigious awards during the Annual South
African Institute of Civil Engineering (SAICE) and South African Forum of Civil
Engineering Contractors (SAFCEC) awards ceremonies. The first award was for the
Most Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement Award in the Technical
Excellence Projects Category and the second one was the Technical Excellence
Below is the
‘then and now’ graphic of the evolution of the project and achievements (high
resolution photographs available).
has also made public its commitment to social responsibilities through
development of communities surrounding its new build sites. “In the past
two years, Ingula has injected R20 million towards the upgrading of local
schools and the provision of extra classrooms, 75 mobile science laboratories,
and extra tuition for 400 grade 12 learners in maths,
science and accounting. Other similar social responsibility investments were
made in the areas of health and small business development,” adds Masango.
Eskom in partnership with CMI Joint Venture (CMI JV is a joint venture
comprising CMC di Ravenna, PG Mavundla and Impregilo) has pledged a R50 million
donation towards the construction of a new neonatal ward and much-needed
general refurbishments at the Ladysmith Regional Hospital. This
initiative will benefit the community of the uThukela district municipality and
its major towns of Ladysmith, Estcourt and Bergville.
Eskom, CMI JV, Alfred Duma municipality Mayor, uThukela district municipality
speaker and Hospital Management seen together after taking the tour of the
hospital and pledged the R50 million for upgrades at the Hospital.
proud of the work that the Ingula project has achieved since inception. We are
grateful to all our stakeholders, especially our host municipalities in
KwaZulu-Natal and Free State and communities, for working and partnering with
us to deliver the much-needed megawatts into the national grid. Together we
have achieved more and triumphed despite all challenges,” Masango said.