Ingula, South Africa

The first new pumped storage project in South Africa

Ingula is the first new pumped storage project in South Africa for over 25 years and the largest of its kind in Africa.  The complete electro-mechanical equipment was supplied by Voith. The commissioning followed in the year 2016 and is operated by the state energy company Eskom.

This includes four pump turbines, each with a capacity of 342 MW, the associated motor generators, as well as the entire control and automation systems. The construction and manufacture of the motor generators was carried out at the Japanese plant in Kawasaki; the pump turbines come from Heidenheim, Germany.
The Ingula pumped storage plant is  located near the town of Ladysmith in the east of South Africa. This is a region which lies at the heart of South African power generation. The upper water is the Bedford which flows just a short distance away. From there, an approximately two kilometer long tunnel  goes to the power house. On the lower water side, the Bramhoek  is also connected via a two kilometer long tunnel.
Now, the four pumped storage units at Ingula help to significantly stabilize the electricity network of South Africa.
As a result, the energy is stored. The water pumped into the upper basin can then be used at times of high demand to produce large quantities of electricity at short notice which can then be fed into the grid.

Capacity building in Africa: Voith provides knowledge in hydropower technology to local people

The development, operation and maintenance of hydropower plants require a great variety of expertise. With the ongoing exploitation of untapped hydropower potential in many developing countries around the world, a greater involvement of new players in the sector and new international standards, knowledge gaps of hydropower plant operators have widened. To bridge these gaps, German technology group Voith has developed a global training program called HydroSchool, which contains also tailor-made solutions for developing countries and its needs. The aim is to educate local staff to obtain a qualification in their field of hydropower expertise. Various trainings across Africa showcase the progress. 

HydroSchool training program at pumped-storage plant Ingula

Voith was awarded by the plant operator Eskom to train local staff to operate and maintain the new plant. Voith started in the middle of 2017 the largest HydroSchool training program for hydropower plant operators in its history. Since then, the company has been training around 70 Eskom employees, from technicians through to managers, to fulfil their individual responsibilities.

“At the Ingula training, we have to consider many different target groups with a wide range of training objectives”, says Maren Henkes, Customer Training Manager at Voith Hydro. “We are happy that we successfully accomplish this challenge within a really short preparation time. Our customer benefits from a customized training concept which fits best to its needs”. The comprehensive training program covers almost 20 different courses – starting from a general plant overview to specific system training courses like for example the oil-handling system of the pumped storage plant. More than 15 Voith instructors from Africa, Europe and Asia are involved.