Tutuka Power Station

From Global Energy Monitor

Tutuka power station is a 3,654-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power plant in Mpumalanga, South Africa.

Location

The map below shows the location of the plant, near Standerton, Gert Sibande District, Mpumalanga.

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Background on Plant

The Tutuka 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 3,654 megawatts (MW) installed capacity comprising 6 X 609 MW units.[1]

As of 2018, Eskom was seeking an exemption until at least 2024 from pollution standards for its Tutuka plant. The plant, which is located in the heavily polluted Highveld Priority Area in Mpumalanga province, has been estimated to cause the premature deaths of 192 people a year and an economic loss of 2.4 billion rand (US$200 million) a year from health costs. Eskom is currently allowed to emit up to three and a half times more in particulate emissions than allowed under the minimum emission standards adopted in 2015.[2]

In November 2020, the South African Department of Environment Forestry and Fisheries revealed that in May 2020, the agency issued compliance notices to the Tutuka Power Station to rectify exceedances of emission limits and breaches of water licenses that have led to ground and surface-water pollution.[3][4]

The power station is frequently partially responsible for Eskom's loadshedding. For example, three units at the station were down in May 2021 "due to loss of air compressors."[5]

In October 2021, the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment partially granted environmental compliance postponement for the power station. Tutuka was also named as one of the highest-emitting stations.[6]

According to South Africa's 2019 Integrated Resource Plan, the plant's 50-year Life Decommissioning was projected for 2035-2040.[7] In April 2020, Eskom listed the last unit's retirement as 2041.[8]

Eskom was planning technology updates in order to address particulate matter emissions, but the company's 2021 Integrated Report states that this was being reassessed due to "funding constraints".[9]

Sabotage investigations

In December 2020, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) closed a probe into alleged sabotage at Eskom's Tutuka power station, Fin24 reported. This came a year after President Cyril Ramaphosa cut short a foreign trip to announce that sabotage had contributed to severe power cuts that led to unprecedented stage 6 load shedding. But according to the Hawks, the NPA closed the case, citing a "lack of evidence to validate the initial suspicion".[10]

In August 2021, Eskom placed seven managers on precautionary suspension over possible continued gross negligence in the performance of their duties at Tutuka power station.[10]

In November 2021, the power station's general manager Sello Mametja called law enforcement to investigate issues at the power station. He said that if any of his staff members were to sabotage the power supply, he would know. This came after Eskom CEO André de Ruyter said that the power utility was investigating suspicious circumstances surrounding the breakdowns of several power stations.[11]

(Articles have referenced arrests related to charges of theft, fraud, and corruption associated with fuel oil.[12])

In May 2022, another act of sabotage occurred when a warming valve cable was cut "just outside the sight" of the facility's cameras. Many similar incidents have occurred across Eskom's plants, following major loadshedding power outages caused by the company's aging infrastructure.[13]

Plant Details

  • Sponsor: Eskom
  • Parent company: Eskom
  • Location: Standerton, Gert Sibande District, Mpumalanga, South Africa
  • Coordinates: -26.7771561, 29.3523764 (exact)
  • Status: Operating
  • Gross capacity: 3,654 MW (Units 1-6: 609 MW)
  • Type: Subcritical
  • In service: 1985-90
  • Projected retirement: 2035-41
  • Coal type:
  • Coal source:
  • Source of financing:

Articles and Resources

Sources

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