Duvha power station

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Duvha power station is an operating power station of at least 3000-megawatts (MW) in Witbank, Nkangala, Mpumalanga, South Africa with multiple units, some of which are not currently operating.

Location

Table 1: Project-level location details

Plant name Location Coordinates (WGS 84)
Duvha power station Witbank, Nkangala, Mpumalanga, South Africa -25.961261, 29.339713 (exact)

The map below shows the exact location of the power station.

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Unit-level coordinates (WGS 84):

  • Unit 1, Unit 2, Unit 3, Unit 4, Unit 5, Unit 6: -25.961261, 29.339713

Project Details

Table 2: Unit-level details

Unit name Status Fuel(s) Capacity (MW) Technology Start year Retired year
Unit 1 operating coal - bituminous 600 subcritical 1980 2031 (planned)
Unit 2 operating coal - bituminous 600 subcritical 1980 2031 (planned)
Unit 3 mothballed coal - bituminous 600 subcritical 1981 2032 (planned)
Unit 4 operating coal - bituminous 600 subcritical 1982 2033 (planned)
Unit 5 operating coal - bituminous 600 subcritical 1983 2033 (planned)
Unit 6 operating coal - bituminous 600 subcritical 1984 2034 (planned)

Table 3: Unit-level ownership and operator details

Unit name Owner
Unit 1 Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd (Eskom) [100.0%]
Unit 2 Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd (Eskom) [100.0%]
Unit 3 Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd (Eskom) [100.0%]
Unit 4 Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd (Eskom) [100.0%]
Unit 5 Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd (Eskom) [100.0%]
Unit 6 Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd (Eskom) [100.0%]

Project-level coal details

  • Coal source(s): Middleburg mine

Background

The Duvha Power Station is a coal-fired station owned by the South African publicly-owned electricity utility Eskom.

The power station has an installed capacity of 3,600 megawatts (MW) comprising 6 X 600 MW units. The power station is located at Witbank, Mpumalanga.[1]

The power station is supplied with coal via conveyor belt from BHP Billiton Energy Coal South Africa's Middelburg mine.[2]

In May 2011, it was reported that Eskom was seeking up to 3 million tonnes of coal a year for nine years from the end of 2015 for its Duvha plant. The utility has reportedly been struggling to obtain coal as domestic miners have increasingly focused on coal exports, aiming to get higher returns in Asia.[3]

Unit 3 at the Duvha Power Station had been off stream since March 2014 after being over-pressurized. It was planned to be back on stream in 2019-20.[4] However, in June 2020, a court order set aside Eskom’s decision in March 2017 to award the tender to rebuild the boiler to China's Dongfang Electric Corporation. After the ruling, Eskom determined the rebuild of Duvha Unit 3 was no longer deemed economically viable, as the unit is already scheduled to be decommissioned by 2034.[5]

According to South Africa's 2019 Integrated Resource Plan, the plant's 50-year Life Decommissioning was projected for 2030-2034.[6] In April 2020, Eskom listed the planned retirement dates for the plant's six units between 2031 and 2034.[7]

In October 2021, the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment completely denied Eskom's request for an environmental compliance postponement for the power station.[8] Eskom appealed the decision and claimed that, if implemented, it "would have a significant negative impact on the economy and employment … and delay the country’s plans for an energy transition to a cleaner energy supply.”[9]

Incidents and outages

South Africa dealt with major loadshedding at the beginning of 2022, with Duvha accounting for one of the three worst performing Eskom plants. According to one report, the power station had an average of 1,139 MW unavailable within its fleet between March 2021 and March 2022. Unit 2 of the plant was in the process of being serviced, but a "suspicious incident" led to delays when it was found that the wrong oil had been used.[10]

In June 2022, Unit 2 of the "notoriously problematic" power station caught fire.[11]

In September 2022, two units at the station tripped and contributed to Stage 5 loadshedding.[12] In November 2022, loadshedding was again implemented on the Eskom grid, which was attributed to failing units at the Duvha power station.[13]

In April 2023, a senior coal buyer at Duvha power station was charged with corruption and fraud, allegedly costing the power utility 4.9 million rand (US$270,000).[14]

In May 2023, it was reported that Eskom had increased load shedding due to a broken down unit at Duvha power station and delays in getting units at other plants back online.[15]

According to August 2023 reporting on Eskom data from the past year, Medupi power station, Camden power station, and Duvha power station were the only coal plants out of Eskom's fifteen plants that increased their energy availability compared to the year before. The utility's twelve other coal plants had reduced availability.[16]

Higher Coal Price

In May 2021, Eskom approved a higher coal price to supply the Duvha power station to pave the way for the sale of SA Energy Coal (SAEC), which is majority-owned by Australia-based South32, to black-owned Seriti Resources. SACE runs four collieries and three processing plants in eMalahleni (previously known as Witbank) and Middelburg. Seriti, which is headed by Mike Teke, said Eskom's agreement to amend the Duhva Coal Supply Agreement adjusted the coal price to R550 per ton starting June 1, 2021, or 32% higher than the previous price of R416/ton. The parties agreed on the modification of the coal supply agreement until December 31, 2024.[17]

Articles and Resources

References

  1. Eskom, "Generations Plant Mix Revision 8," May 2008
  2. BHP Billiton, 2009 "BHP Billiton Annual Report," BHP Billiton, September 2009
  3. "Eskom tender seeks 3 mln T/yr coal for Duvha plant," Reuters Africa, May 16, 2011
  4. "Duvha Unit 3 will be fully recovered in 2019/20," Times Live, November 21, 2015
  5. "Integrated Report," Eskom, 2020
  6. "Integrated Resource Plan (IRP2019)," South Africa, October 2019 (figure 26)
  7. "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. "'No risk of power outages' as Eskom can appeal emission extension refusals," Times Live, December 15, 2021
  10. "Eskom’s three worst-performing plants responsible for nearly half of all breakdowns," Moneyweb, May 30, 2022
  11. "Eskom confirms fire at Duvha Power Station in Mpumalanga," Daily Maverick, June 13, 2022
  12. "Due to the breakdown of five generating units overnight, Stage 5 loadshedding will regretfully be implemented until 05:00 on Monday," Eskom, September 17, 2022
  13. "Problems at Duva Power Station Sees Eskom Implement Stage 2 Power Cuts," Eyewitness News, November 8, 2022
  14. "Hawks tighten screws on buyers allegedly fleecing Eskom power stations," Daily Maverick, April 3, 2023
  15. "Eskom Latest: Eskom Escalates Power Cuts After Duvha Breakdown," Bloomberg, May 18, 2023
  16. "Are things getting worse at Eskom?," amaBhungane, August 2, 2023
  17. "Eskom approves higher coal price to supply Duvha power station as part of takeover deal," fin24, May 17, 2021

Additional data

To access additional data, including an interactive map of coal-fired power stations, a downloadable dataset, and summary data, please visit the Global Coal Plant Tracker on the Global Energy Monitor website.