Eskom has synchronised unit 5 of the Kusile power station to the national grid.
“Eskom is delighted to announce that unit 5 of the Kusile power station project was synchronised to the national grid for the first time on 31 December 2023 at 5.22pm. The unit will contribute an additional 800MW to the country’s power system, which was never part of the Eskom grid capacity,” said the power utility in a statement.
The unit will supply electricity intermittently during the testing and optimisation phase over the next six months before being transferred into commercial operation and the capacity officially added to the current Eskom fleet.
“The synchronisation of Kusile unit 5 marks another significant milestone of sustainably improving our generation performance. This will contribute much-needed power to the grid,” said Bheki Nxumalo, Eskom’s group executive for generation.
“We are encouraged that this achievement of our recovery plan immediately follows the return of the three units that were brought online from end-September 2023, bringing a total of 3.2GW onto the grid, which will further improve the energy availability factor (EAF) and help strengthen South Africa’s electricity capacity.
Progress is being made on the remaining construction and commissioning activities at unit 6 and at completion the station will consist of six units, which will produce a maximum 4.8GW.
This will make Kusile South Africa’s largest construction project and will be the world’s fourth largest coal plant.
“In addition, the power station is fitted with wet flue gas desulphurisation (WFGD) emissions abatement technology, in line with current international practice to ensure compliance with air quality standards. This makes Kusile the first power station in South Africa and Africa to use WFGD technology, which is used to remove sulphur dioxide from the flue gas prior discharge to the atmosphere,” Eskom said.
Also on a positive note, repair works to the permanent stack for units 1, 2 and 3 are progressing well. Intensified efforts are also being made to return Medupi unit 4 to service by end-July 2024.