SOUTH AFRICA – Eskom, South Africa’s national electricity utility, has disclosed the availability of approximately 3,470MW in grid capacity through curtailment, outlined in the addendum of its Generation Connection Capacity Assessment 2025 (GCCA 2025).

SOUTH AFRICA – Eskom, the national electricity utility of South Africa, has revealed the availability of approximately 3,470MW in grid capacity through curtailment, detailed in the addendum of its Generation Connection Capacity Assessment 2025 (GCCA 2025).

Eskom utilizes the Generation Connection Capacity Assessment (GCCA) to inform stakeholders of the potential capacity on its transmission network, facilitating the connection of new power generation projects.

“The GCCA 2025 Addendum provides the 2025 connection capacity with curtailment for energy generators and serves as an addendum to the GCCA 2025 published in October 2023,” stated Eskom’s Transmission Group Executive, Segomoco Scheppers.

The utility has outlined its intention to implement a 10% curtailment measure, unlocking 2,680 MW of grid capacity in the Western Cape and 790 MW in the Eastern Cape.

Curtailment involves a deliberate reduction of power plant output in response to system security needs or temporary transmission capacity constraints.

Widely employed by system operators, curtailment facilitates the integration of renewable generators within grid constraints.

“Unlocking capacity in these areas will require a significant amount of transmission network investment, a process spanning several years for development and construction,” noted Eskom.

“Curtailment, therefore, offers developers an alternative if they are still keen to connect in the constrained grid areas.”

“By accepting a reasonable share of curtailment, the generation connection capacity for constrained areas can be safely increased,” Eskom added.

In instances where the grid limit is reached, any further increase in generation in the supply area results in grid congestion.

To alleviate congestion, generation must be reduced. Eskom contends that curtailment optimizes the effective use of the existing grid and augments generation connection capacity.

The utility affirmed that its curtailment plan has undergone internal governance processes and received substantial approval. Additionally, regulatory support for curtailment was confirmed by NERSA in December 2023.

Another power supply challenge

Meanwhile, Mozambique plans to cease half a century of hydropower supply to Eskom, posing risks for South Africa, the continent’s most industrialized economy, and jeopardizing the viability of Africa’s second-largest aluminum smelter.

In Mozambique’s yet-to-be-published energy transition strategy, a copy of which Bloomberg has seen, the plan is outlined to secure the 1,150 megawatts of power Mozambique sells to South Africa from its Cahora Bassa plant for its own use.

“The main short-term hydro priority is the repatriation of electricity from Hidroelectrica de Cahora Bassa currently exported to South Africa” when the contract ends on December 31, 2030, the government said in the strategy document. Mozambique’s energy ministry didn’t respond to a request for comment.

This decision poses challenges for both South Africa, grappling with power cuts hindering economic growth, and South32, the operator of the Mozal aluminum smelter near Mozambique’s capital, Maputo, which relies on electricity purchased from Eskom.

South32 requires about 900 megawatts of electricity for Mozal’s aluminum output, marketed as being produced with clean energy. However, as Mozambique’s grid isn’t nationally linked, Mozal, producing 345,000 tonnes last year, can’t receive direct power supply from Cahora Bassa.

Instead, the 2,075-megawatt plant, Africa’s third-largest for hydropower, sends electricity along 1,400 kilometers of transmission lines to Eskom in South Africa, which then sells power to Mozal. This sales arrangement has been in place since 1979 when the last of the turbines was completed.

Mozambique plans to advocate for the use of its renewable energy in industrial parks to enhance the value of its production of green minerals such as lithium and graphite.

Eskom stated it is unaware of the desire to not renew the contract. If the contract is not renewed, Eskom may need to procure power from elsewhere, and South32 will need to seek another source of electricity, preferably from renewable sources.

For all the latest packaging and printing industry news from Africa and the World, subscribe to our NEWSLETTER, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.