Duvha power station

From Global Energy Monitor

Duvha power station is a 3,600-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power plant in Mpumalanga, South Africa.


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

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Background on Plant

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) installed capacity 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 has 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]

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]

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.[14]

Plant Details

  • Sponsor: Eskom
  • Parent company: Eskom
  • Location: Witbank, Nkangala District, Mpumalanga, South Africa
  • Coordinates: -25.9612614, 29.3397128 (exact)
  • Status: Operating
  • Gross capacity: 3,600 MW (Units 1-6: 600 MW)
  • Type: Subcritical
  • Start year: 1980-84
  • Planned retirement year: Units 1-2: 2031, Unit 3: 2032, Units 4-5: 2033, Unit 6: 2034[7]
  • Coal type:
  • Coal source:
  • Source of financing:

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