Emissions requirement postponed for Kusile

25th August 2023

Emissions requirement postponed for Kusile

KEEPING KUSILE The emissions standards requirement which needs to be met by Kusile has been postponed untill March 2025 by The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment

The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) announced in June that the National Air Quality Officer (NAQO) had granted State-owned power utility Eskom a postponement to meet Minimum Emission Standards (MES) at its Kusile power station.

The postponement will be in effect from June 5, 2023, to March 31, 2025, and is subject to certain strict conditions.

The postponement application was necessitated by the failure of Kusile’s west stack on October 23, 2022, as the failure limited the power station’s ability to operate the three commissioned generating units, namely units 1, 2 and 3.

These units would each provide about 700 MW, totalling about 2 100 MW, to the national grid and potentially reduce loadshedding by two levels.

Eskom’s short-term technical solution is to return the units through construction of three temporary stacks that will bypass the Flue Gas Desulphurisation (FGD) plant while repairs to the affected stack are under way.

The operation of these three temporary stacks will enable the return of 2 100 MW to the grid to reduce loadshedding.

The NAQO, in concurrence with the Nkangala district municipality as the Atmospheric Emissions Licence authority, having considered Eskom’s postponement application, the impacts on health and environment and balancing this against the negative impacts of unstable electricity supply, determined that the application should be granted.

In terms of the “specific conditions”, Eskom is required to take measures to mitigate harm caused by the exposure to sulphur dioxide for its employees and surrounding communities.

This must include, at minimum, independent health screenings and the referral of people requiring healthcare to the appropriate public health facilities for treatment.

Additionally, Eskom was required to submit a detailed plan on the mitigation measures it intended to put in place within 21 days of receipt of the decision, which would be approved by the NAQO and Nkangala district municipality.

Further requirements include Eskom having to submit quarterly progress reports on the implementation of the compliance roadmap and commitments made towards restarting use of FGD.

In addition to these conditions, Eskom must also meet any requirements set by the Nkangala district municipality over the project period.

The DFFE also pointed out that the decision may be reviewed by the NAQO with the concurrence of Nkangala district municipality during the postponement period, in line with the National Environmental Management Air Quality Act provisions.