Saturday, 24 June 2023: Eskom notes and welcomes the decision by the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment’s (DFFE’s) National Air Quality Officer to grant the organisation a postponement in terms of the Minimum Emission Standards (MES) pertaining to the sulphur dioxide (SO2) emission levels at Kusile Power Station. Eskom also notes and welcomes issuing an updated Atmospheric Emission Licence (AEL) to Kusile Power Station to reflect this postponement decision by the Nkangala District Municipality.
The postponement granted on 5 June 2023 and the licences issued on 13 June 2023 mean that Eskom will be able to operate the three units without the use of the Flue Gas Desulphurisation (FGD) plant, which is equipped with emission-abatement technology for SO2, for a period of up to 31 March 2025 while the flue gas ducts in the permanent stack are being repaired. The repairs to the ducts in the permanent stack will be completed by December 2024. This comes after the failure of the Unit 1 flue gas duct on 22 October 2022. The failure at Unit 1 subsequently affected units 2 and 3 as the ducts for all these three units are in the same stack (chimney).
As previously communicated, the temporary stack structures for Unit 3 will be completed by November 2023, and for units 1 and 2 by December 2023. This will enable the return of
2 100MW, further alleviating pressure on the power system and reducing loadshedding by two stages.
The postponement and licence is subject to several conditions, including the implementation of measures to mitigate the impact of SO2 emissions on air quality. Eskom will comply with the conditions of the MES postponement and the Atmospheric Emission Licence.
Copies of the MES decision and AEL, as well as details of the process to follow to appeal either of the documents are available on the website of Eskom’s independent consultants EIMS at https://www.eims.co.za/public-participation/