Eskom’s Chief Engineer Explores Western Cape’s Energy Developments

Representational image. Credit: Canva

Premier Alan Winde’s 22nd Energy Digicon welcomed Mr. Lester Geldenhuis, Chief Engineer at Eskom in the Western Cape, as a distinguished guest to shed light on key developments in the province’s energy sector.


During the event, Mr. Geldenhuis delved into Eskom’s efforts in transmission grid development, power generation forecasting, and the growing significance of independent power producers (IPPs) in enhancing power generation capacity.

Exploring the Western Cape’s energy grid, it was revealed that the transmission network encompasses 18 substations and 31 lines spanning 3350 km. The province generates more than 4500 MWs of power, peaking at 4000 MWs, with IPPs contributing over 1000 MWs to the grid.


Regarding grid stability, Mr Geldenhuis highlighted the grid’s commendable performance, with an unavailability rate of under 1% for the current financial year.

Discussing the future outlook, Mr. Geldenhuis outlined Eskom’s projections to increase the province’s load forecast by approximately 5.3 GWs between 2023 and 2032. Notably, the generation capacity is expected to expand by 6800 MWs, with a significant portion coming from wind energy projects.

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Among the regions identified as renewable energy development zones in the province, Overberg, Komsberg, and Beaufort West hold immense potential for renewable energy initiatives.

With the Western Cape’s population growth driving increased energy demand, Eskom is challenged to meet these needs. Mr. Geldenhuis unveiled forthcoming projects, including new substations in Mitchells Plain, transformers in Stikland, and extensions to the Philippi substation. Beyond Cape Town, long-term plans encompass a second transformer in Ceres and a substation in George, aligned with population growth projections.

Amidst challenges posed by factors like land invasions, Eskom’s collaboration with the Western Cape Government (WCG) is essential for successful expansion. Mr. Geldenhuis emphasized joint efforts to determine optimal locations for substations and power lines, ensuring the safe execution of infrastructure projects.

Addressing grid vulnerability due to coal-fired power concentration in the north, Premier Winde shared plans to reduce Eskom’s offtake by 5,700 MWs, aligned with Eskom’s goals. Mr. Geldenhuis highlighted the changing energy landscape, emphasizing the importance of network adaptation to maintain stability in power distribution across the country.

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