Diesel generators to add 150MW to Joburg grid

  • A gaggle of officials gathered in Johannesburg this week to celebrate the refurbishment of an open cycle gas turbine.
  • The John Ware Power Station is set to contribute 50MW to the grid together with three other generators.
  • Panyaza Lesufi says that an additional 100MW of power will be added to the grid in the next financial year.

This week, a gaggle of officials gathered at the John Ware Power Station in Fordsburg to celebrate its decommissioning.

As many as six government officials gathered at the power station to celebrate its refurbishment. The job of recommissioning the power was started by late Johannesburg Mayor Mpho Moerane who passed away in 2022. The power station is set to be renamed in honour of the late mayor.

Unfortunately, this open cycle gas turbine is only set to generate 50MW of energy. That energy is also generated by burning diesel, a costly endeavour which often leaves OCGT’s reserved for emergencies. City Power has two more generators in its fleet, namely Karzene and Cottesloe, which generate 50MW of energy each.

Once all three turbines are functional, this will add 150MW to Joburg’s grid which isn’t all that much in the grand scheme of things. Per Eskom, loadshedding means as much as 1 000MW needs to be removed from the grid, 150MW of power then isn’t all that helpful considering the scale of loadshedding we’ve endured in the past.

However, Gauteng is also looking to create solar microgrids. These microgrids service regions in Gauteng directly rather than adding to the provincial grid. City Power launched a successful pilot of the programme earlier this year in Alexandra.

“Today we are contributing 50MW that were not there 18 months ago,” Gauteng Premier, Panyaza Lesufi said in a statement at the John Ware relaunch. “The Commitment we are making now is that next month we are bringing in another 50MW to make it 100MW in total. In the next financial year we are bringing in another 100MW. We don’t want to glorify problems, we want to eliminate them.”

It’s unclear where the 100MW Lesufi mentions will come from.

While more power is obviously a good thing, additional capacity means little to residents who have endured days-long outages despite loadshedding having been suspended for 23 days on the trot. Last weekend infrastructure problems caused outages across multiple wards in the Greater Johannesburg region.

City Power has urged residents to keep their power usage in check so as to avoid the risk of a system overload.

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