Arnot power station

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Arnot power station is a 2,352-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power plant in Mpumalanga, South Africa.


The map below shows the location of the plant, near Rietkuil, Nkangala District, Mpumalanga.

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Background on Plant

The Arnot Power Station is a coal-fired station owned by the South African publicly-owned electricity utility Eskom, located at Middelburg, Mpumalanga. Construction of Arnot started in 1968, and was commissioned from 1971 to 1975.[1]

Three of its units were put into reserve storage (mothballed) in 1992 due to the surplus generating capacity Eskom had at the time. The units were recommissioned in January 1997, November 1997 and December 1998 respectively.[2]

The power station comprised six units of 350 MW each. In 2008, Eskom said it planned to commission 60 MW upgrades in 2008, a further 60 MW in 2009 and a further 30 MW in 2010.[3]

In 2015, Eskom gave the unit ratings as follows: 1 x 370 MW; 1 x 390 MW; 2 x 396 MW; 2 x 400 MW for a total of 2,352 MW installed capacity and 2,232 MW nominal capacity.[4]

In April 2016, the Eskom Board said it approved the commencement of a pre-feasibility study for renewal options for four of its oldest power stations - Komati, Camden, Hendrina, and Arnot. The pre-feasibility study would take 18 months to complete, and would include looking at options such as plant life extension.[5]

According to South Africa's 2019 Integrated Resource Plan, the plant's 50-year Life Decommissioning was projected for 2021-2029.[6] In April 2020, Eskom also listed the planned retirement dates for the plant's six units between 2021 and 2029.[7]

In August 2021, Eskom announced it entered into an agreement with Arnot OpCo (Pty) Ltd for the supply of coal. Arnot OpCo will supply the full coal requirement for the life of Arnot Power Station. The contract has an exit clause after Year 6 that may allow both parties to cancel the contract.[2]

In October 2021, the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment granted Eskom with positive environmental compliance postponement decisions for Arnot as it was scheduled to shut down.[8]

In February 2022, soon before Arnot OpCo was expected to make its first delivery of coal to the plant, an investigation began regarding alleged mismanagement of the Arnot OpCo operation.[9] Wescoal, which holds 50% interest in Arnot OpCo, said that they remain committed to supplying coal to the Arnot Power Station amid the investigation.[10] In October 2022, Arnot OpCo was placed under "supervision and business rescue proceedings". The mine was to continue supplying the power station.[11]

Disruptions & Load Shedding

The Arnot Power Station is one of several plants in South Africa facing recurring disruptions.[12] Eskom frequently implements load shedding due to breakdowns at the power station, such as in September 2020[13], June 2021[14], November 2021[15], and October 2022.[16] In addition, in 2018, union sources claimed that five of the units were down because of low coal supplies and wage protests.[17]

Plant Details

  • Sponsor: Eskom
  • Parent company: Eskom
  • Location: Rietkuil, Nkangala District, Mpumalanga, South Africa
  • Coordinates: -25.9438068, 29.7920396 (exact)
  • Status: Operating
  • Gross capacity: 2,352 MW (Units 1-6: 370 - 400 MW each)
  • Type: Subcritical
  • In service (start year): 1971-75 (some units recommissioned in 1997-98)
  • Planned retirement years: Unit 1: 2021, Units 2-3: 2026, Unit 4: 2027, Units 5-6: 2029[7]
  • Coal type:
  • Coal source:
  • Source of financing:

Articles and Resources


  1. "Heritage - Arnot Power Station". Eskom. Retrieved January 6, 2016.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Eskom signs coal supply agreement with employee-owned Arnot mine," ESI Africa, August 13, 2021
  3. South African government, "National Response to South Africa's Electricity Shortage", January 2008
  4. "Fact sheet with additional information" (PDF). 2015. Retrieved April 29, 2016.
  5. "Eskom Board approves Fleet Renewal Strategy based on economic viability," Eskom, April 24, 2016
  6. "Integrated Resource Plan (IRP2019)," South Africa, October 2019 (figure 26)
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Response of Eskom to CER, Reference number: PAIA 0087 MAN," CER website, April 28, 2020
  8. “Eskom to engage on way forward after being denied permission to delay air-quality compliance,” Engineering News, December 14, 2021
  9. "Wescoal confirms investigation at Arnot Opco is under way," Mining Weekly, February 15, 2022
  10. "Response to Sunday World article dated 13 February 2022," Wescoal Holdings Limited, February 14, 2022
  11. "Eskom coal supply mine Arnot OpCo placed under business rescue," News24, October 11, 2022
  12. "Load shedding to get worse, expect stage 5," City Press, June 6, 2021
  13. "Load shedding to continue until 22:00 as plant breakdowns increase," fin 24, September 1, 2020
  14. "Load shedding can’t be our new norm especially during unforgiving winter months," IOL News, June 4, 2021
  15. "Eskom on implementation of loadshedding at short notice," South African Government, November 2, 2021
  16. "Stage 3 load shedding until further notice as Eskom loses more units," BusinessTech, October 20, 2022
  17. "Disruptions hit Arnot power station in South Africa amid protests," Reuters, July 31, 2018

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