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South Africa: New Eskom dam power project approved

State power utility Eskom has received all the necessary approvals, including an environmental record of decision, to proceed with a second multibillion-rand pumped-storage scheme, dubbed Project Lima.
The power utility is already constructing a R9 billion pumped-storage scheme, known as Ingula (previously Braamhoek), in the Drakensberg on the border between Free State and KwaZulu-Natal.

The Ingula project would involve the construction of two dams, one atop the escarpment and the other at the bottom, as well as underground waterways, an underground powerhouse complex, and access tunnels and roads.

Ingula will have a capacity of 1 330 megawatts.

It is designed as a so-called mid-merit generation plant, using excess electricity to pump water in off-peak hours from the bottom to the top dam through the underground tunnels. During periods of peak demand, water in the top dam will be released through the same tunnels and hydroturbines back into the bottom dam, to generate electricity.

Bids for the civil work are already in hand, with a Chinese contractor said to be the lowest bidder.

Eskom recently issued tenders for the design, manufacture, supply, installation, commissioning and testing of the electrical and mechanical auxiliaries plant. The closing date for both tenders is December 3.

Project Lima, on which the power utility planned to take a final investment decision soon, was envisaged as a 1 500MW plant, comprising four 374MW units. Eskom hopes to commission the plant in 2014. Completion of the Ingula project is scheduled for the end of 2012.

The utility's pumped-storage schemes, along with the return-to-service coal-fired projects; two major coal-fired stations, Medupi and Project Bravo; the doubling of the open-cycle gas turbine units in the Western Cape and a 100MW wind farm, means there are about 16 000MW in implementation.

Additional information: Read the full story at Business report
News date: 16/11/2007

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