IOL Londiwe Buthelezi
Eskom aims to reduce its water consumption by 260 billion litres a year by 2030. The utility said the alternative technologies used at its new power stations would reduce the water requirement to 270 billion litres by next year. The company would have needed 530 billion litres to operate its coal-fired stations had the new measures not been put in place.
Eskom consumed 327 billion litres of water in the 2010/11 financial year. It used about 1.35 litres of water to generate a kilowatt-hour of electricity, making Eskom responsible for about 2 percent of South Africa’s fresh water usage.
But the roll-out of dry cooling and alternative technologies will see Eskom bring down water consumption relative to power produced to 0.99 litres a kilowatt-hour by 2030.
South Africa is a water-stressed country and environmental groups have previously challenged the building of Eskom’s new coal plants, citing water competition they would bring to local communities.
However, in its “Eskom factor” report, the utility said both Medupi and Kusile would use dry-cooling technology. This would reduce water consumption per unit of electricity produced by as much as 90 percent.
“They are dry cooled, so (they) use only about a tenth of the water that conventional wet-cooled power stations require. So this is why we say Medupi and Kusile are ‘cleaner coal’ than our older coal-fired stations,” Eskom spokeswoman Hilary Joffe said. Continue reading