Eskom announced over the weekend the suspension of the Minimum Emission Standards rules for its Kusile power plant, potentially bringing 2,100MW back into play. The move isn’t new. It’s been in the works since March this year, but the Department of Fisheries, Forests, and the Environment granted the postponement three weeks ago on 5 June 2023.
Additionally, an updated Atmospheric Emission Licence was granted by the Nkangala District Municipality that further allows the agency to pump out additional sulphur dioxide (SO²) in order to keep its Kusile units operating. This licence was granted on 13 June.
Eskom does us dirty
Eskom welcomes the DFFE’s decision to grant the postponement of Minimum Emission Standards and the granting of the required Atmospheric Emission Licence pic.twitter.com/2GVFMwOVBr
— Eskom Hld SOC Ltd (@Eskom_SA) June 24, 2023
The state power utility’s new agreement allows it to bypass the flue-gas desulphuration (FGD) units on three of its Kusile generators. The bypass will be valid until 31 March 2025 or until the damaged flue-gas ducts are repaired unless a further arrangement is made to keep SA’s lights on.
Don’t go getting too excited about the utility’s newfound ability to pollute more. Kusile’s Unit 3 is expected to have a temporary stack completed by November this year, with Units 1 and 2 joining up by December 2023. The country might be okay with the added pollution (unless they happen to live in the Nkangala District Municipality) since it’ll apparently further cut load shedding by two stages. Since we’re basically on permanent Stage 3, that would make for a nice respite. At the expense of some lungs and other delicate membranes.