Final unit at Ingula synchronised

31 October 2016

Eskom on Saturday synchronised Unit 3 of the Ingula Pumped Storage Scheme on the cross-border of the Free State and KwaZulu-Natal.

On Sunday, Eskom says Unit 3 was previously synchronised to the national grid on 6 March 2016 and supported the grid until 6 April 2016 when an electrical incident occurred.

“After almost 500,000 man-hours of work without any safety incidents the team completed the repair and has synchronised the unit back onto the national grid,” says the power utility.

Ingula’s Unit 4 went into commercial operation on 10 June 2016 while Units 2 and 1 were been put into commercial operation on the 22 August 2016 and 30 August 2016 respectively.

Ingula’s four units are located 350 m underground in the world’s largest machine hall in mud-rock.

To turn the more than 500-ton rotating mass of the generator rotor and turbine, water is released from Ingula’s upper dam, Bedford Dam, situated 460 m higher and two km away.

Water rushes down to the turbines at around 60 km per hour with enough water passing through each turbine to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool in six seconds. Rotating at 428 revolutions per minute, each unit will produce 333 MW, a total for the station of 1 332MW. 

Upon completion Ingula will be Africa’s newest and largest pumped storage scheme and the 14th largest in the world. 

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