Understanding Electricity Generation and Transmission in South Africa

Eskom generates 90 percent of its electricity from thermal power stations. About 90 million tons of coal is used every year by the South African electricity public utility to power the grid that meet the energy of the nation. Low cost of coal mined from Gauteng and the northern Free State allows it to keep prices low and aid in national development.

Founded in 1923, about 92 years after Michael Faraday discovered electrical energy, Eskom now uses latest boiler technologies that converts water into steam and pressure that move large turbines. The revolving turbines are connected to a rotating magnet that generates electricity from kinetic energy.

Power utilities also run two hydro-power generating plants that supply electricity when demand peaks or sudden breakdown creates cuts. The water stored in dams drives huge turbines for power generation. However, electricity generation at these plants is subject to the water level of the dams.

A network of huge towers called pylons carry on aluminium and copper transmission lines across the country that carry electricity to various hubs. Known as the National Grid, this transmission network is looked after from a national control centre at Simmerpan, Germiston. Transformers and power stations erected at various distances help keep the voltage constant and minimize losses.

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