Business Day Spotlight

PODCAST | The short fuse that is SA’s energy crisis

Dr Jarrad Wright, principal engineer at the CSIR, speaks to Mudiwa Gavaza about the blast at Medupi power station

16 August 2021 - 19:33
By Mudiwa Gavaza
Medupi power station unit six in Liphalale, Limpopo.
Image: GCIS POWER FAILURE Medupi power station unit six in Liphalale, Limpopo.

After the recent explosion at the Medupi power station, we discuss what the damage means for SA’s electricity generation capacity.

Mudiwa Gavaza.
Image: Dorothy Kgosi Mudiwa Gavaza.

Eskom has confirmed that Medupi — which had been completed only two weeks ago after years of being plagued by cost overruns, delays and design defects — experienced an explosion at the unit 4 generator. The incident occurred on Sunday evening and is suspected to have resulted in unit 5 tripping, said the utility.

The explosion resulted in extensive damage to the generator. No injuries were reported and all employees and contractors have been accounted for.

Host Mudiwa Gavaza is joined by Dr Jarrad Wright, principal engineer at the CSIR, to discuss the implications.

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The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is SA’s state-run central scientific research and development unit.

Wright, a qualified electrical engineer with particular interests in power system operations and economics, talks to us about how the explosion occurred, how much capacity has been taken out of Eskom as result, how this affects the risk of load-shedding, what it will cost to repair the damage, the case for renewable and independent power production, and how Eskom stacks up against similarly sized power utilities around the world.

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