Load shedding

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Tweefo (November 30, 2014, 17:19:13 PM):
We are back to this again, (Hello darkness, my old friend) but how does this work? I read in a news flash that "with the load shedding over the weekend Eskom will build up enough capacity for the coming week". How is that possible, they cannot store the electricity or do they store the energy in the form of unreleased steam? Meanwhile, it pays to live close to the action, so to speak. The rumor here in Middelburg is that the Arnot power station (close by) has run out of coal.
Rigil Kent (November 30, 2014, 17:31:37 PM):
Load shedding causes a lot of unreleased steam, no doubt.
Mefiante (November 30, 2014, 18:50:26 PM):
Most of SA’s electricity is produced by coal-fired power stations. Reducing the weekend load allows the coal reserves in the main feed silos to be built up so that the required power capacity is available during the week. The feed coal needs to be sized correctly and also washed in some cases. You can’t just shovel any old coal into a power station.

(One such feed silo collapsed at the Majuba power station a few weeks ago, reducing Eskom’s total power capacity.)

Tweefo (November 30, 2014, 19:25:33 PM):
So it's more a case of building up coal reserves. Guess you can't win. We complain about all the coal trucks here in Mpumananga, but why is this just now a problem?
Mefiante (November 30, 2014, 19:42:39 PM):
Typically, coal-fired power stations are fed by conveyor belts, not trucks, which are inefficient for this sort of application where a more-or-less constant feed rate is required. But there are still feed silos that give some surge capacity and also smooth out interruptions when a problem occurs with the conveyor belts.

It’s a question of building up available feed coal at the power station’s doorstep (as it were) so that the power station can produce power at or slightly above its nominal capacity during the week. It’s become a problem because power demand has gradually increased over the years to the point where it’s now above nominal supply capacity. Interruptions such as the Majuba silo collapse reduce total supply capacity. This shortfall must be made up by other power stations, and hence the need for rolling blackouts to curb the average power demand over a whole week.



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