Ballenden & Robb Consulting Engineers
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Aliwal North Substation

As part of the Implementation of the Aliwal North Master Plan which was undertaken by Ballenden & Robb, a new 2 x 20MVA Substation with 6 x 11kV feeders had to be constructed.

The particular challenge with this project was to construct the new Substation on the site of the existing Substation. The supply to the town had to be maintained via 4 x 3MVA Transformers. A small window period was made available so that one of the units could be decommissioned in order to free up space for one new 20MVA Unit. With this plan in place, the construction was phased in to allow all equipment which was required for the commissioning of that unit, be installed first. A well thought out plan had to be developed to arrange the new panels correctly to allow seamless integration of the new feeder cables into the town’s existing reticulation network.

The equipment is operating well and the Client has a safe environment for their personnel to operate and control the heart of their Electrical Network from. We are pleased that we could impact the lives of the people in the town in such a major way with improved Quality and Security of Supply as well as Voltage Regulation on their door step. 

  Coega IDZ finally gets a direct connection from Eskom

The Coega IDZ Main intake substation has been sitting on a limb ever since it was completed a few years ago, waiting for the completion of Eskom’s new Dedisa substation.

The final connection (jumpers between the line and the line isolator) was finally completed today.  
Up to now, the IDZ, just outside of Port Elizabeth, has been supplied from the municipal Chatty/Motherwell corridor with a total firm capacity of only 160MVA.

This new 132kV, 500MVA link not only dramatically increases the capacity of supply to the IDZ, but improves the security of supply to the whole of the city.

Ballenden & Robb was responsible for the design and project management of the whole original HV infrastructure in the IDZ, as well as the power line between Coega Main and Dedisa and the extensions of Coega Main required for the connection.
Contractors included Conco, ABB and Alstom. 

Ballenden & Robb appointed wind turbine Operator

Electrawinds, the Belgian renewable energy company ( has appointed Ballenden & Robb as their operator for their first wind turbine in South Africa, in the Coega IDZ.

Project operational in time for FIFA 2010 Soccer World Cup, this will be the first commercial wind project in South Africa as well as the start of the first phase of a large wind farm that, in time, will comprise 25 wind turbines. For Electrawinds, this will be the first operational project outside Europe.

It is a VESTAS ( V90 with a 95-meter tower, 5m nacelle and a 90-meter rotor diameter. The turbine has a capacity of 1.8 MW which translates into an annual yield of 5,700,000 kWh.
This will be the tallest turbine in Africa
1. Turbine being erected

We will be their local representative responsible for inter alia:

  • Regular site visits, checks to ensure the site is running smoothly, according to the criteria provided by the client;
  • Warn the client as soon as any problem or incident is discovered on the site;
  • Timely response on the site at the request of the client;
  • Response when the wind generator stops :
  • MV equipment supervision of the equipment's condition and maintenance status.
  • Provide assistance during routine checks.
  • Supervision of the state of the terrain – ensure the paths/tracks are accessible.
  • Checking and monitoring the turbines.
  • Follow-up manufacturer's maintenance activities.
In a related development, our sister company, Manelec Services, was appointed by VESTAS for the electrical connection of the turbine to the grid and to perform first-line maintenance services for the turbine once in operation
2. 49m Turbine Blade

Livingstone Hospital Gensets being commissioned

The first 2 of up to 5x 1,5MVA generators are busy being commissioned and should be fully commissioned within days. According to health representatives, these will be the largest units within the Eastern Cape Health Department.
Each unit is provided with it’s own transformer to connect directly to the hospital’s 22kV main grid.

Initially, the 22kV network only will supply the new accident and emergency (A&E) and oncology buildings, but ultimately the whole hospital will be connected to this grid.

The new facilities have three power priority levels:

  • UPS (we were responsible for a dual 50kVA unit for A&E);
  • Essential, and;
  • Non-essential

In the event of a power interruption, equipment connected to the UPS circuit will not experience any interruption. The non-essential load is remotely disconnected after a power failure so that by the time the gensets are up and running within about 30 seconds, only the first two levels are powered.

After mains are restored and stable, the genset controller automatically synchronises the gensets to the grid so that there is no power interruption when connecting back to the grid.

The controller has the facility to start the gensets, synchronise the gensets to the grid and take over load from the grid. This would be useful in the event of planned power outages and full-load testing, as there would be no interruption to the first two priority levels. This capability could even be used for peak load reduction.

A feature of the installation is the very low noise level specified. As this is a hospital and up to 5 units could eventually be installed in this facility, substantial intake and outlet sound attenuators where installed resulting in very low noise levels outside the generator hall.

The gensets were supplied and installed by IMS from Cape Town

DIRECTORS: K. Ntsono, D. Staffen, S. van der Merwe
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