The Ingula plant will have the capacity to generate 1,333 megawatts (MW) of hydropower to be integrated into the South African grid, when fully operational in 2014. It is estimated that South Africa will require an additional 40,000 MW of power by 2025.

As part of the turnkey eBoP solution for the power plant, ABB will be responsible for the design, engineering, supply, installation and commissioning of the project. Key products to be supplied include the service and auxiliary transformers, dry-type distribution transformers and medium- and low-voltage switchgear.

The Ingula PSS will comprise an upper and a lower reservoir. The upper reservoir will have a total capacity of 22.6 million m³ and an active storage of 19.3 million m³.The lower reservoir will have a 26.3 million m³ capacity and active storage of 21.9 million m³. The reservoirs, which are 4.5 km apart, will be connected by underground waterways to a subterranean generating plant with four 333 MW pump turbines. During times of peak energy consumption, water will be released from the upper reservoir through the pump turbines to the lower reservoir to generate electricity. When energy consumption is low, the process will be reversed, and water will be pumped from the lower to the upper reservoir.

Franz-Josef Mengede, head of ABB’s global Power Generation business in the Power Systems division, said: “ABB has a strong track record in providing power and automation solutions that enable pumped storage plants to operate at high levels of efficiency and reliability. The Ingula project will generate a significant amount of renewable hydropower to help meet the growing demand for electricity in South Africa.”