Heritage Cases

Eskom's Grootvlei MES Suspension Application and AEL Variation Request





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Eskom's Grootvlei Power Station MES Suspension Application and AEL Variation Request, near Balfour, Mpumalanga Highveld


The 2013 Minimum Emission Standards (MES) Regulations published under the National Environmental Management: Air Quality Act 39 of 2004 (NEM: AQA) (as amended by GN 1207 of October 2018) specify emission limits for Particulate Matter (PM), Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) and Sulphur Dioxide (SO2) for ‘existing plants’ effective from 1 April 2015, and more stringent ‘new plant’ limits to be complied with by 1 April 2020. All existing Eskom power stations are required to comply with the published emission limits within the regulated timeframe. Eskom’s Grootvlei power station is an old power station situated 15km southwest of Balfour town. Grootvlei forms part of Eskom’s fleet of coal fired power stations situated in the Mpumalanga Highveld Region. Eskom has installed a Fabric Filter Plant (FFP) at Grootvlei power station to reduce the station’s particulate emissions. Grootvlei already achieves the new plant emission limit for PM and existing plant limit for NOX and SO2 but will not be able to meet the new plant limit for NOx and SO2. Postponement from the need to comply with the new plant NOx and SO2 MES limits until 2025 was granted to Grootvlei in 2015 based on an MES postponement application made in 2014. Three of the six units at Grootvlei have already been shut down and the station is scheduled for decommissioning before 31 March 2030. There are no plans to install any additional pollution abatement equipment at the station. The amended MES Regulations (GNR 1207) provides for once-off postponement of compliance with the MES for new plant limits for 5 years from the date of issue, no once-off postponement will be valid beyond 31 March 2025; and once-off suspension for plants being decommissioned by 31 March 2030. Application for once-off suspension of new plant limits must be submitted to the National Air Quality Officer (NAQO) by 31 March 2019. Given the above Eskom has submitted an application for suspension of the NOx and SO2 limits and proposed alternative limits for both until station decommissioning. The previously granted postponements of limits will remain in place until 2025 and thereafter until decommissioning based on this request for suspension. Eskom received condonation from the Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF) for the late submission of an application for Grootvlei until November 2019. For that reason Eskom already submitted an MES suspension application for Grootvlei’s application in November 2019. In that application Eskom undertook to submit additional information to the NAQO including an updated Atmospheric Impact Report (AIR), motivation and reasons for the application, variation request and a consolidated Public Participation (PP) Report. Naledzi Environmental Consultants Pty Ltd (NEC) is the independent environmental consultants, appointed to prepare the application documentation and conduct the public participation process.


Monday, July 6, 2020 - 14:05