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Thembalethu substation construction to commence

George Municipality held a sod-turning ceremony last week to signal the beginning of construction of a 66/11 kV 40 MVA electrical substation in Thembalethu, one of the largest of its kind in the Southern Cape and a major bulk infrastructure milestone for the city.

George Executive Mayor Leon van Wyk said the new substation would alleviate load on the substations that were currently supplying Thembalethu and therefore served as an important catalyst for investment funding from both the state and business.

“George Municipality is a key growth area for many investors, but it requires certain very expensive bulk infrastructure to support the growth. The allocation of supportive funding from the national Department of Mineral Resources and Energy to build this substation signals trust in the local authority to facilitate growth and service delivery. In turn, the municipality can provide the kind of infrastructure required for outside manufacturers and business to invest and for housing supportive facilities to be developed across the municipal area,” said Mr Van Wyk.

Municipality Director Electrotechnical Services Bongani Mandla said the completed Thembalethu substation would be one of the largest 66/11 kV substations in the Southern Cape. “It will provide power to Thembalethu and other suburbs east of the N2 that are currently supplied from substations across the highway. The overall impact on the city’s grid will be adequate capacity for a growing city and more reliable supply to especially the eastern areas,” said Mr Mandla.

Construction on the Thembalethu 66kV substation commences this month (October 2021) and will run across three financial years. The first phase, costing about R30-million, is funded two thirds by the municipality and the rest by the Integrated National Electrification Programme grant (INEP) of the national Department of Mineral Resources and Energy. The entire project is costed at an estimated R58 million.

The substation’s construction consists mostly of the manufacturing, supply and installation of 11 kV and 66 kV equipment, two new 66/11 kV 20MVA power transformers and ancillary protection and control equipment.

The first phase of the substation, which will include the commissioning of the 66 kV yard, first power transformer and 11 kV switchgear, is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2023.

At the sod turning ceremony of the new Thembalethu 66 kV substation, back from left to right: Deon Esterhuysen (George Municipality), Chris Spies (George Municipality), Alwyn Huisamen (VE Reticulation), Electrotechnical Services Portfolio Councillor Nosicelo Mbete, Jurgens Bosman (VE Reticulation), Executive Mayor Alderman Leon van Wyk, Joubert Theart (Zutari) and Danie de Vries (BDE Consulting), and front from left are George Municipality Electrotechnical Services Director Bongani Mandla and Kevin Grunewald (BDE Consulting).