The order covers manufacture, installation and commissioning of the three machines which take place step by step and during normal operation until mid of 2018.

The contract has a volume of around 11 million Euros.

It is Voith’s first order for Drakensberg power plant placed by the South African energy supplier Eskom. During the bid phase Voith convinced the operator with a technical concept improving the performance of the machines by dedicated measures.

Voith Hydro Germany Drakensberg project generator expert and technical offer manager Martin Althoff said: “These measures ensure a reduction of operating temperature and machine vibrations so that their lifetime can be extended significantly. After the modernization the generators will show at least 40 further years of operation.”

The pumped storage power plant Drakensberg, has a total installed capacity of 1,000 MW and therefore is the second largest of its kind in South Africa. The most unique feature of Drakensberg is that the power plant is built completely underground.

Only shafts and transmission lines can be seen on the surface whereas the four reversible pump turbines are placed approximately 52 floors below ground. The power plant has been in operation since 1981 and considerably contributes to energy grid stabilization.

It can react quickly to fluctuations by generating required energy or storing a surplus. This flexibility of the multipurpose plant is highly important for grid stability and subsequently the quality of energy supply in South Africa.

Voith has been active in pumped storage technology for many years. The company has made vital contributions in this field, developed many innovations and continuously works on optimizing them.

Voith invests in research and development in this area, because so far, pumped storage technology is the only long-term, technically proven and cost-effective form of storing energy on a large scale and making it available at short notice.