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Thembalethu New 66kV Substation is nearing completion

Aerial view of Thembalethu Substation

The construction of the new 66kV substation in Thembalethu, aimed at bolstering power supply reliability in response to escalating electricity demand, is progressing gradually and is anticipated to be finalised within this year.

This project, one of the largest in the Southern Cape, marks a significant achievement in the City of George’s bulk infrastructure development. It demonstrates the municipality’s commitment to facilitating growth and service delivery, attracting investment from both the government and businesses.

Construction Update:
Despite initial setbacks, construction remains on schedule. Recent concerns regarding informal shacks situated beneath the new 66kV power line between SS Glenwood and SS Thembalethu may potentially impact the energizing of the power line and new substation, but the municipality is actively addressing this issue.

Key milestones include the completion of the substation building, installation of most electrical equipment, and placement of the 11 kV switchgear panel. Additionally, two 66/11 kV, 20 MVA power transformers have been successfully installed alongside switchgear and other essential components. Ongoing work involves the installation of electrical and control cabling.

Incorporating Advanced Technology:
The substation incorporates cutting-edge technology, including an IEC61850 protocol protection scheme for enhanced control and protection, and DNP3 VER 2 protocol for communication between the substation and the control centre. Extensive use of fibre optic cables minimizes reliance on copper, enabling remote monitoring of alarms, CCTV security, and substation control.

Benefits of the New Substation:
• Provides reliable electricity to Thembalethu and enables future expansion.
• Creates job opportunities and supports growth in Thembalethu and surrounding areas.
• Reduces load on adjacent substations in Pacaltsdorp and George Industria, prolonging available capacity and providing alternative capacity during system faults.
• Enhances supply to SS Protea, SS Glenwood, and other areas in the Eastern region of George.

The need for a 66kV substation in Thembalethu was identified over 20 years ago. The current project builds upon previous initiatives, including the Ballots Bay 11kV substation. The completion of the initial phase in 2014/15 paved the way for the current project, with the final cost expected to be approximately R77,900,000.00.

66-11 kV 20MVA power transformer in the foreground with auxiliary equipment installed at the substation
Control Coupling Cell to control municipal equipment