Ingula Pumped Storage Scheme

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Ingula Pumped Storage Scheme
CountrySouth Africa
LocationKwaZulu-Natal/Free State
Coordinates28°16′54″S 29°35′08″E / 28.28167°S 29.58556°E / -28.28167; 29.58556Coordinates: 28°16′54″S 29°35′08″E / 28.28167°S 29.58556°E / -28.28167; 29.58556
Construction began2005
Opening date2017
Construction costUS$3.5 billion (R25 billion)
Owner(s)Eskom and CMC Impregilo Mavundla
Upper reservoir
CreatesBedford Reservoir
Total capacity22,400,000 m3 (18,200 acre⋅ft)
Lower reservoir
CreatesBramhoek Reservoir
Total capacity26,300,000 m3 (21,300 acre⋅ft)
Power Station
Hydraulic head480 m (1,570 ft)[1]
Pump-generators4 x 333 megawatts (447,000 hp) reversible Francis-type
Installed capacity1,332 MW

The Ingula Pumped Storage Scheme (previously named Braamhoek) is a pumped-storage power station in the escarpment of the Little Drakensberg range straddling the border of the KwaZulu-Natal and Free State provinces, South Africa. It is about 22 km (14 mi) North-East of Van Reenen.


The pumped-storage hydroelectric scheme consists of an upper and a lower dam 4.6 kilometres (2.9 mi) apart and connected to a power station by tunnels.

4 Francis pump turbines rated at 333MW give this power station a total rating of 1332 installed capacity. These were supplied by Heidenheim[disambiguation needed].


Notable contractors included CMC Impregilo Mavundla Joint Venture[2] and Concor on the dams.

The scheme was built at a cost of US$3.5 billion (R25 billion).[3]

Construction began in 2005 and the power station was scheduled to begin operations in late 2015.[4][5]

  • The first two generators were not commissioned until March 2016.
  • The third generator was brought into commercial operation in August 2016.
  • The fourth and final one in January 2017.[6][7][8]

Detailed breakdown[edit]

The pumped-storage hydroelectric plant uses water from the upper reservoir to generate electricity during the peak demand periods of the day. At night, excess power on the grid generated by conventional coal and nuclear plants is used to pump water to the upper reservoir.

  • The upper Bedford Dam on Bedford stream, a tributary of the Wilge River, was completed in April 2011. It is a 39 m (128 ft) tall concrete-face rock-fill dam. It has a 22,400,000 m3 (18,200 acre⋅ft) water storage capacity of which 19,200,000 m3 (15,600 acre⋅ft) can be used for power generation.
  • The lower Bramhoek Dam on Bramhoek stream, a tributary of the Klip River, was completed in November 2011. It is a 41 m (135 ft) tall roller-compacted concrete gravity dam. It has a 26,300,000 m3 (21,300 acre⋅ft) water storage capacity of which 21,900,000 m3 (17,800 acre⋅ft) can be pumped up to the upper reservoir.
  • A 2 km (1.2 mi) long headrace tunnel connects the upper reservoir to the underground power station which houses 4 x 333 megawatts (447,000 hp) reversible Francis pump-turbines. The elevation between the two reservoirs affords a hydraulic head (water drop) of 480 m (1,570 ft).
  • Water from the power station is discharged down a 2.5 km (1.6 mi) long tailrace tunnel to the lower reservoir.[1][5][9]

Storage capacity[edit]

The energy storage capacity is 21,000MWh (15.8 generating hours).[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Ingula 1,333 MW Pumped Storage Scheme". Knight Piésold. Retrieved 12 January 2015.
  2. ^ "Ingula Update". Eskom. November 2009. Retrieved 9 January 2010.
  3. ^ "Ingula Pumped Storage Scheme". GIBB. Retrieved 12 January 2015.
  4. ^ "The Ingula Pumped Storage Scheme". Royal Haskoning. Archived from the original on 13 January 2015. Retrieved 12 January 2015.
  5. ^ a b "Ingula Pumped Storage Scheme". Eskom. Retrieved 12 January 2015.
  6. ^ "S.Africa: Ingula Pumped Storage Scheme's second unit synchronised". ESI Africa. 1 April 2016. Retrieved 1 April 2016.
  7. ^ "Load shedding is history, says Eskom as another Ingula unit goes live". News24. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
  8. ^ Poindexter, Gregory B. (2017-01-31). "All units in commercial operation at 1,332-MW Ingula pumped storage project in South Africa". Retrieved 2018-05-01.
  9. ^ Lonsdale, Lauren (June 2010). "Ingula pumped storage dams progressing well". Civil Engineering. 18 (5): 24. Retrieved 12 January 2015.
  10. ^ Sawyer; Du Plessis. "Ingula Pumped Storage Scheme, Design and Construction" (PDF): 2. Retrieved 27 March 2019. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)

External links[edit]