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South Africa: Eskom calls for Braamhoek access-tunnel bids

State-owned electricity supplier Eskom's R8,9-billion Braamhoek pumped-storage scheme is “well advanced” and the utility is gearing up to start building the main access tunnel.
Eskom Enterprises' Neo Mosinyi said on Tuesday that the company, which issued an invitation to tender for the construction of the main access tunnel, planned to start construction on the tunnel in January and that it expected the tunnel to be complete by October 2009.

This was in line with the original timeline Eskom had set for the proposed project, Mosinyi said. The first of the four units, which will add an additional 1 332 M to Eskom's capacity, is expected to be operational by 2012.

The Braamhoek pumped-storage scheme is being built in the Drakensberg mountain range on the border between the Free State and Kwazulu-Natal.

The scheme comprises two dams, underground waterway tunnels, an underground powerhouse complex, access tunnels and site roads.

It will use excess electricity to pump water in off-peak hours from the bottom dam to the top dam through the underground tunnels, from where it will be released through the same tunnels and hydroturbines back into the bottom dam to generate electricity during peak times.

The Braamhoek pumped-storage scheme formed part of the utility's R41-billion new mega power projects approved at June 2006, which would, collectively, add 3 582 MW to its capacity, the other being a R26-billion base-load power station near Lephalale, in Limpopo. The other is a R6-billion 765-kV transmission line, which will run over a distance of 1 500 km from Standerton, in Mpumalanga, to Cape Town, in the Western Cape.

Mosinyi said that the closing date for the tender was November 3.

Additional information:
News date: 29/09/2006

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