The Knysna Municipality announced the completion of R2,3-million worth of upgrades to its new main electricity substation.
Knysna Municipal Manager Lauren Waring said the relevant building and its equipment (two 7.5MVA 66/11kV transformers) were bought from Eskom in the late 1980s when the power supplier built a new 132kV overhead line. The purchase at the time increased the Knysna supply voltage from 11kV to 66kV.
Through the years several upgrades and extensions have been made to the equipment as well as to the old Eskom building and Knysna’s old main substation building, which is situated adjacently below the old Eskom substation. In 2007 one of the 7.5MVA transformers failed and was replaced in 2009 with a new 20MVA – 66/11kV transformer.
In 2010 Council decided to extend the old Eskom 66kV building and to replace the old 11kV oil circuit breakers with new 11kV vacuum circuit breakers, which also implied an extension of the old Eskom building. Extensions and installation of the new 11kV switchgear are now complete.
“Early next year (2013) the 11kV cables will be relocated from the bottom substation in order for the new circuit breakers to feed the 11kV network. No electricity cuts are expected during the cable relocation process,” said Ms Waring.
She added that the municipality had also made provision for the future. The upgraded building has space for additional circuit breakers and switchgear for a second 20MVA transformer that will eventually replace the other old 7.5MVA transformer, as well as circuit breaker space for a future third 20MVA transformer. There are no immediate plans for the additional transformers, which would be linked to future development of formal housing.
“Upgrades such as these are necessary to ensure that Knysna remains a sufficient supplier of basic services. It is like servicing a car or other essential hardware, we can’t wait until it breaks before we replace it. We are confident that this new equipment will support electricity supply for years to come,” said Waring.
Ms Waring added there would soon be more good news for the town as replacing of the Eskom 66kV overhead line to Knysna with a dual 132/66kV overhead line was progressing well and would, according to Eskom, be completed in June 2013. “This will resolve the Eskom capacity constraints to Knysna and enable developments that had been hindered by this factor to go ahead,” she said.