Introduction to transformers - medium banner.jpg
Image source: Eskom

Eskom generation transformer catches fires at Kendal Power Station

South Africa, Mpumalanga: Eskom announced a fire broke out at the Kendal Power Station in the early morning of 11 September, damaging several units.

The cause of a fire at Eskom’s Kendal power station in Mpumalanga remained unknown on 11 September.

No staff had been injured in the incident.

The fire damaged cables to the main cooling water system of the power station. It goes on to state that Units 2 and 3 had also been impacted and had been shut down under controlled conditions. Efforts to return Unit 1 to service is underway.

Kendal Power Station is a coal fired power station located in the coal rich South Africa province of Mpumalanga. Although construction of the power plant had been completed in 1993 it is still considered as one of the largest coal fired power stations in the world. At the time of completion, it had been deemed the largest indirect dry cooled power station in the world. The power station has 6 operational units all producing 686 MW each. The power station has a total installed capacity of 4,116 MW when in service and forms an integral part of the electrical power generation network within South Africa.

This news follows on an early Eskom announcement in last month that a generator at Medupi Power Station had been severely damaged in an explosion. The damaged caused by the explosion had been estimated to be between $105 M (R1.5 B) to $140 M (R2 B). A preliminary incident investigation indicated that the cause may have been the introduction of air during repair diagnostics when hydrogen was still present. The hydrogen and air mixture created a volatile mix which ignited and resulted in the explosion.

Eskom had been under severe pressure to maintain it aging power stations infrastructure in recent years. The construction of two new power stations namely Kushile, close to Kendal and Medupi had been expected to alleviate the pressure to ensure consistency in electrical power supply throughout the country. However, both construction project had been severely impacted by delays, quality issues and cost overruns resulting in regular power shortages, cuts, or load shedding. A term used to describe the strategic approach that will leave certain parts of the country without electricity for different time periods per day.

The recent incidents will no doubt increase the need for continued and new load shedding even though the cost of load shedding is estimated to be around $35 M (R500 M) per stage per day.

Author: Chris Gerber

*The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and they do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of the Transformers Magazine and Merit Media Int.