Eskom’s R7 billion fix taking shape

Eskom’s R7 billion fix taking shape

Power utility Eskom says it has lined up transformer suppliers that will compete for R7 billion worth of contracts over the next four years, which will unlock the capacity it needs to add new generation to the grid.

The group said that over the next 10 years, it would require 101 large-scale and other transformers for its infrastructure build rollout, with the ultimate goal of connecting 53,000MW of new generation capacity to the grid.

“To achieve this, innovative project delivery models and partnerships are being explored and implemented to drive accelerated delivery of the Transmission Development Plan (TDP), including a priority programme for strategic projects,” said Segomoco Scheppers, Eskom’s Managing Director for Transmission.

The National Transmission Company of South Africa (NTCSA) issued an open tender enquiry on 14 March 2023, and five suppliers have already successfully been selected to manufacture power transformers to supplement the limited local supply capacity.

Most suppliers are local with an international footprint, Eskom said.

The current schedule requires a first batch of 26 large-scale transformers to be delivered between 12 and 36 months from order placement to meet the urgent requirement to increase transmission capacity for customers and independent power producers and contribute to overall economic growth.

Eskom said that NTCSA had designed a framework agreement to procure 101 large-scale and various other sizes of transformers from the selected suppliers to address the large-scale demand until the end of the 2028 financial year.

The suppliers will compete for various tenders over the coming years and the first batch of 26 power transformers has been issued to the suppliers and is expected to be awarded by July 2024.

Eskom said subsequent tenders will encourage more local manufacturing as the supply chain becomes more established in South Africa.

An initiative to accredit more companies both locally and internationally has resulted in the NTCSA already accrediting 22 factories for various classes of transformers.

The transformer contract includes 34 transformers that form part of two priority programmes to accelerate the delivery of the transmission infrastructure.

Firstly, 25 projects at existing substations will provide additional transformers to unlock 13,000MW of new generation capacity.

Secondly, 22 expedited transmission projects will unlock 24,000MW of grid connection capacity.

“In summary, NTCSA is developing 47 projects that have the potential to unlock 37,000 MW of grid connection capacity between 2025 and 2033. These projects are at different stages of implementation in terms of design, procurement, and construction,” the utility said.

The recently established NTCSA will be undertaking the largest infrastructure rollout programme since the inception of its predecessor, Eskom’s Transmission Division.

The commitment is to deliver 170 transformers to bring on board 105,865 MVA transformer capacity and 14,218km of new transmission lines by 2032.

NTCSA will provide regular updates on these projects and initiatives, it said.