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Eskom provides update on the use of temporary stacks at Kusile Power Station; emission levels and ambient air quality remain within acceptable limits

Tuesday, 05 March 2024: On 05 June 2023, the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment’s (DFFE’s) National Air Quality Officer granted Eskom a postponement in terms of the Minimum Emission Standards (MES) pertaining to the sulphur dioxide (SO2) emission levels at Kusile Power Station. An updated Atmospheric Emission Licence (AEL) to Kusile Power Station to reflect this postponement decision was issued to Eskom on 13 June 2023.

The postponement allows Eskom to operate units 1, 2, and 3 without utilising the Flue Gas Desulphurisation (FGD) plant. This plant is equipped with emission-abatement technology for SO2. The allowance extends until 31 March 2025, during which time the flue gas ducts in the permanent stack are being repaired.

The recovery of these units represents a significant milestone in the Generation Operational Plan, contributing a much needed 2 400MW to the national grid.

The postponement and license are subject to several conditions, including the implementation of measures to mitigate the impact of SO2 emissions on air quality and public health. Eskom is also required to inform the nearby communities of the potential environmental risks associated with the use of the temporary stacks. To this end, several engagements have taken place and will continue until the permanent stacks are in place.

“We have diligently adhered to the conditions of the MES postponement and the Atmospheric Emission License and are pleased to report that emissions from the three units remain below our atmospheric emission license and ambient air quality limits,” said Eskom Group Executive for Generation, Bheki Nxumalo.

“We have implemented robust health screening initiatives within the surrounding areas and have installed additional ambient quality monitoring equipment to specifically monitor SO2 emissions. This ensures that we safely and responsibly operate Kusile while minimizing any potential impact on public health. We remain committed to Zero Harm, which is one of our core business values. We also remain dedicated to achieving a sustainable energy supply for the country,” added Nxumalo.

Eskom has also developed a comprehensive Emergency Preparedness and a Response Plan to ensure a swift response in case of an emergency. The plan outlines response actions for potential SO2 emissions exceedance incidents and provides a clear process for reporting and managing emergencies. Our onsite resources include a dedicated team of professional firefighters and emergency medical personnel, with a fleet of fully equipped ambulances and emergency response vehicles. We are also collaborating with the local authorities and several emergency scenarios have been mapped out and thoroughly prepared for.

“The health and safety of our employees, contractors and neighbouring communities remains Eskom’s top priority. We will continue taking proactive measures to manage and mitigate any potential risks,” concluded Nxumalo.

Eskom is on track to complete the repairs to the ducts in the permanent stack by December 2024.


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