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Tutorial for grade 8 learners in the

Natural Science learning area.

Ermelo Secondary School



May 2009

When we want to know all about power stations we have to
answer a few questions. Let us find out more.

2.What is the function of a power station?

A power station generates electricity.

2. Are there different kinds of power stations?

There are many kinds of power stations;

Electricity is mostly made by burning coal, using hydro power, nuclear or

solar power. There are also other ways to make electricity.

2.1 Coal power stations

Coal power stations use coal to generate electricity. To produce

electricity an energy source is needed to drive the huge turbines in
a power station.

2.2 Hydro power

In a hydroelectric scheme, water is used to generate electricity.
The power station does not consume any water in this process, it
only uses the energy

2.3 Nuclear energy

Nuclear energy is used to produce electricity all over the world.

Nuclear power generation can be described as the harnessing of
the energy created by a nuclear reaction. In a nuclear power
station, energy comes from the splitting of atoms of uranium . This
process is known as fission.

2.4 Solar energy

Solar energy generates energy by utilising sunlight. Solar module
or photovoltaic (PV)’s are made up of solar cells . These cells are
connected in series and is therefore able to generate electricity

3.The power station close to Ermelo is Camden

power station

3.1 Location and site map:

The station is situated close to Ermelo in Mpumalanga; 16 km from

Ermelo in Mpumalanga one of our nine provinces.
3.2 Employees:

Approximately 242

3.3 Technical details:

• Eight 200MW units

• Installed capacity: 1 600MW
• Design efficiency at rated turbine MCR (%): 33.40%

The station has six cooling towers, each of which can cool approximately
581 900 liters per minute. These towers are 111,86 meters high above
the pond sill and have a diameter of 54,25 meters at the top. The
diameter of the pond sill is 85,65 meters.

3.4 History:

Camden's first unit was commissioned in April 1967. In 1988 half the
station was mothballed with the rest of the station following suit in 1990.
The station is 35 years old.

3.5 General:

Camden was the starting point of the national power grid consisting of a
series of 400kV lines which today interconnect the entire country.
3.6 Costs

It costs about R126 000 000 about 34 percent was spent on boiler plant;
25 per cent on turbo-generator plant and foundations, and the rest on
civil works, electrical plant, property, pumping stations and feed mains,
and the like

3.7 History:
Camden's first unit was commissioned in April 1967. In 1988 half the
station was mothballed with the rest of the station following suit in 1990.
The station is 35 years old

3.8 General:

Camden was the starting point of the national power grid consisting of a
series of 400kV lines which today interconnect the entire country

3.9 Coal Supply

Coal was supplied from the colliery to the station by means of overland
conveyors, which moved at the rate of 152 metres per minute and could
convey approximately 726 metric tons per conveyor per hour. T Camden
consumed 5.5. million metric tons of coal annually
3.10 RTS Project:

Due to a sharp increase in the demand for electricity, the Eskom Board
of Directors took a final decision in 2003 for the Return to Service (RTS)
of the three power stations, Camden, Grootvlei and Komati, that were
mothballed in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s

3.11 Contact details:

• Switchboard: +27 17 827 8000

• Power Station Manager: Mr Anthony Kuzelj
Tel: +27 17 827 8015
Fax: +27 17 827 8044

Reference “”

4.Other power stations

There are a lot of power stations in South Africa here are the names of a
few of them:

4.1 Kendal

4.2 Kriel

4.3 Hendrina


4.5 Duhva
5.How is electricity “made?”

Camden power station generates electricity by means of the following


 A machine called a pulveriser grinds the coal into a fine powder.

 The coal powder mixes with hot air, which helps the coal burn
more efficiently, and the mixture moves to the furnace.
 The burning coal heats water in a boiler, creating steam

 Steam released from the boiler powers an engine called a turbine,

transforming heat energy from burning coal into mechanical
energy that spins the turbine engine The steam is directed onto a
turbine, which makes the turbine spin very fast.

 Connected to the turbine shaft is the generator rotor The spinning

turbine is used to power a generator, a machine that turns
mechanical energy into electric energy.

 A condenser cools the steam moving through the turbine. As the

steam is condensed, it turns back into water he water is re-used to
make more steam.

 Electricity is fed into cables from the circuit. You can now use the
electricity by plugging into the circuit

 Lastly you have to take care of all the waste products.

This is an example of how USA are generating elelctricty from coal and
getting rid of their waste products.

6.Where do we find coal?

Most of the coal in South Africa is low quality with a low heat value and
a high ash content. The majority of our coal deposits which are suitable
for cheap power generation are found in eastern and south-eastern
Gauteng and in the northern Free State. In Gauteng it is usually found at
shallow depths and in thick seams. In KwaZulu-Natal, the seams are
deeper and thinner, but of a higher quality.

7.Why are coal power stations important?

Coal fired power stations in South Africa produce approximately 90% of
its electricity. Power stations use over 90 million tons of coal per annum.
Coal mining in South Africa is relatively cheap compared to the rest of
the world. These low costs contributed to the nation's prosperity and
potential for development. On the other hand In Europe, costs are
almost four times higher.

8.How does the electricity get to my house?

After electricity is produced at power plants it has to be transmitted to

the customers who use the electricity. Everywhere in South Africa there
are power lines that carry electricity. The process in which we receive
our electricity is the following

 The electricity first goes to a transformer at the power plant

 the power plant boosts the voltage up to 400,000 volts. When
electricity travels long distances it is better to have it at higher
 The cables; made of copper and aluminium carry electricity long
distances to a substation.
 Transformers at the substation change the electricity back to a
lower voltage
 From the substations, it gets sent out to you. When it comes into
your house, the voltage has been lowered to around 115 volts. It's
still dangerous, but not as much as the 40,000 volt lines.

9.What is load shedding

When there is not enough electricity available to meet the demand from
all the consumers, it could be necessary to interrupt supply to certain
areas. This is called load shedding.

Load shedding is:

 A last resort measure. Only when all other options at its disposal
have been exhausted, such as running its power stations at
maximum capacity and interrupting supply to industrial customers
with special contracts, will Eskom cut supply to other customers.
 A controlled way of rotating the available electricity between all
customers. Load shedding schedules are drawn up to ensure that
a few areas do not bear the brunt of the shortages. By spreading
the impact, affected areas are not interrupted for more than two
hours at a time, and in most cases customers can be informed of
interruptions in advance.
 An effective way to avoid blackouts. Shortages on the electricity
system unbalance the network, which can cause it to collapse. By
rotating the load in a planned and controlled manner, the system
remains stable.

For more information on load shedding, please refer to the Eskom Fact
sheet - How does load shedding work?

10.Useful information.

10.1 Safety tips

Appliances should be in good order. If you are in need of repairs or

replacement it should be attended to immediately. Not doing so could
result in an accident. Breakages and excessive wear and tear on
electrical equipment can occur frequently.. Make regular inspections and
take precautions to ensure your safety.

Here are some points to look for when making an inspection:

 Signs of overheating
 Missing parts (screws, covers, switches)
 Faulty appliance controls
 Doors and covers not closely smoothly or adequately.
 Loose fixtures or fittings
 Breakages
 Wear/deterioration

Test your equipment regularly - switch it on and off and look for possible
problems or faulty connections. Spend time to make sure you are using
your equipment safely; this could save your life later on.

10.2 Plugs and Electric Sockets

Plugs are an essential part of our lives as we depend on electricity for

almost everything we do. People of all ages to know how to use plugs
safely. The following tips are for you to use when buying and using

 Look for the SABS sign and only use SABS approved plugs.
 Do not overload plugs - rather use an adaptor.
 Do not pull a plug by the cord.
 Switch the switch off at the wall socket, before pulling the plug out.
 Do not connect electrical appliances to light sockets.
 Never put bare wires into sockets.
 Do not stick fingers into sockets.
 If there are babies in the house, ensure that wall sockets are
covered with a safety cap, keeping the area safe for babies to play

10.3 Cords

Cords also needs regular inspection to minimize any potential dangers

that cords can cause.

 Do not use frayed cords - replace worn and frayed cords on

appliances immediately.
 Keep cords well away from hot stoves and other hot surfaces.
 Do not run electric cords under carpets and rugs.
 Do not join cords with tape.
 Do not run cords through hinges.
 Do not run cords where people can easily trip over them.
 Use SABS approved electrical wires or cords.

10.4 Plugging in safely and correctly

 Overloading a plug can cause a fire. Rather use a multi-plug
adaptor that will allow you to use as many appliances as needed
without the risk of overheating.
 Pull a plug out by gripping the plug itself and make sure the power
is switched off.
 Broken plugs or loose wires are dangerous. Always use SABS
approved plugs and make sure there are no loose wires.
 Putting electrical wires directly into a socket can cause electrical
 Electrical appliances should only be plugged into wall sockets.
and not into light sockets

11.Conserving energy while cooking

As we know electricity costs a lot of money and we have to find ways to
preserve it. Here are a few suggestions as to how you can save
electricity while cooking.

11.1 Electric stove

 Do not overcook foods, especially vegetables. Overcooking

destroys essential nutrients.
 Be sure pots and pans completely cover the stove plates.
 Use a pressure cooker to conserve energy when cooking foods
that take a long time, such as pot roasts, stews and steamed
 Bring foods to the boil quickly on the "high" setting, then turn the
heat down to simmer to finish cooking.
 Do not use the grilling compartment to make toast - it is very

11.2 Microwave ovens

 Compare cooking times when you cook the same food in the
microwave, in the standard oven, on stove top elements or in a
pressure cooker.
 Defrost your food in the refrigerator instead of the microwave oven:
 Use your microwave oven to cook small to medium quantities of
 Some microwaves do not heat up foods evenly. Wrap foods in
plastic to hold in the steam, this will help to give even heating.

12.Safety tips

If you want to work with electricity you always have to consider your
safety first. Therefore it is important to have knowledge and skills when
e.g. changing a plug. Eskom (
gave handy hints in terms of how to wire a plug. Follow the instructions
carefully.(See how easy it is to do this under the "Wire a Plug" section.)

Wiring a Plug
 Bare the ends of the three wires inside the electrical cord for about
half a centimetre, by cutting away the plastic insulation.
 Gently twist the strands of copper wire with your fingers until each
strand is tight.
 Fold over the twisted strands.
 Remove the plug cover by either "snapping" or unscrewing it.
 Unscrew the little screws on each of the plug's pins.
 Insert the twisted copper wires into the holes in the pins.
 The green and yellow wire must always be inserted into the top
 The blue wire is inserted into the left pin (the pin is marked with a
blue spot or the letter N).
 The brown wire is inserted into the right pin (the pin is marked with
a brown spot or the letter L)
 10.Tighten the little screw on each of the plug's pins.
 11.Make sure the electrical cord is firmly gripped by the arrestor
 12.Replace the cover of the plug.

Bare the ends of the three wires Gently twist the strands of copper wire
inside the electrical cord for with your fingers until each strand is
about half a centimetre, by tight. Fold over the twisted strands.
cutting away the plastic
Remove the plug cover by either Unscrew the little screws on each of
"snapping" or unscrewing it. the plug's pins.

Insert the twisted copper wires Tighten the little screw on each of the
into the holes in the pins. The plug's pins.
brown wire is inserted into the
right pin (the pin is marked with a
brown spot or the letter L)

Make sure the electrical cord is Replace the cover of the plug.
firmly gripped by the arrestor
clips. The green and yellow wire
must always be inserted into the
top pin. The blue wire is inserted
into the left pin (the pin is marked
with a blue spot or the letter N).
13.What did we learn about the purpose of CAMDEN
power station and the use of electricity?

 Power stations generate electricity.

 There are many different kinds of power stations.
 Households use a lot of electrical equipment.
 There are many power stations in South Africa.
 South Africa is a developing country and therefore and is in need
of energy to develop.
 CAMDEN is the power station closest to our school.
 There are many things citizens can do to conserve energy.
 Electricity (as energy) costs money and we have to use it wisely,
with respect and caution.

 Electricity can be very dangerous.

 We have to develop knowledge and skills to empower us towards
the safe use of electricity.

14.NCS information ; curriculum matters.

Within the context of the critical and developmental outcomes the tutorial
pertains to the following learning outcomes and assessment standards.


The learner will be able to act on curiosity about natural phenomena, and to investigate
relationships and solve problem in scientific technological and environmental context.

Plan investigations, plan simple tests and comparisons, and considers how to make them
• Identifies a treatable question among questions.

• Contributes in a way that aid the investigation


The learner will know and be able to apply scientific technological and environmental

Applies knowledge: applies conceptual knowledge by linking a taught process to a variation

of a familiar situation

• Identifies which process of energy transfer were involved as a hot car engine cooled


The learner will be able to demonstrate an understanding of the interrelationship between

science and technology society and the environment.

Understands sustainable use of the earth’s resources: analysis information about

sustainable and unsustainable resources

• Prepares several devices for cooking on using different types of fuel



Retrieved from








1.The function of a power station

2.Three kinds of power stations?

3.What is the name of “our” power station?

a.Where is it located?

4. Other power stations

5.How does a coal power station work?

6.How does the electricity get to my house?

7.Relevant info.

8.Safety tips

9.Special skills


11.Information on assessment