Coega gets peaking power plant

24 April 2007

South Africa’s Department of Minerals and Energy has identified the Coega Industrial Development Zone as one of two sites for constructing a peaking power plant.

As part of its commitment to meeting the country’s increasing electricity capacity requirements, the department aims to procure about 1 000 megawatts of new peaking generation capacity for 2009 and 2010.

According to a statement released by the Coega Development Corporation (CDC) on Monday, the proposed peaking power plant within the zone would have an output of around 400 megawatts.

“Such initiatives confirm the government’s confidence in the Coega IDZ and the Eastern Cape at large. Locating a project of this nature in the IDZ puts Coega on the map as a significant destination nationally for big infrastructure projects,” says CDC spokesperson Vuyelwa Qinga-Vika.

Such plants operate mostly during peak electricity demand periods, though they may also be used during periods when other power plants are under maintenance, or when security of supply of the national grid is threatened.

According to the CDC, the Coega plant will utilise open cycle gas turbines and be based on proven technology that is commonly used for similar applications worldwide.

One of the fuel sources for the plant is expected to be the fuel depot located in the Port Elizabeth harbour.

An environmental impact assessment (EIA) for the proposed project is currently underway and has assessed the potential negative impacts as well as the benefits of the project. It has been released for public comment.

The CDC states that between 500 and 800 people may be employed during the construction phase, with about 55 people employed during the operation of the plant.

“About 25% of this number will be unskilled labour while the remainder will be semi-skilled and skilled individuals. A number of these people will be sourced through the Coega Human Capital Solutions unit,” the company says.

Contractors involved in the project will have to source a certain percentage of their labour locally, use small, medium and micro enterprise and engage in training initiative to improve the skills of the local labour force.

“This project should go a long way in alleviating fears that potential investors and electricity users have about power interruptions in the future,” said Qinga-Vika.

SouthAfrica.info reporter

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