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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

Eskom on track to end load shedding with another Kusile unit now online

Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa said the third of three units at Kusile is now expected to return to service in November 2023.

Eskom shared some good news on Monday, announcing that it has brought another unit of the Kusile Power Station back online, adding a further 800MW to the electricity grid.

This follows the return of unit 3 at the end of September, leaving only unit 2 still to be added.

“The two units (1 and 3) are both adding 1,600MW back into the grid, improving the available generation capacity. This signifies that Eskom is on the right path to reducing and ultimately ending load shedding,” Eskom spokesperson Daphne Mokwena said.

Generation performance

Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa also welcomed the unit back to service.

“The return of unit 1 continues to strengthen the stability of generation performance.

“The unit which had been out of commission since August 2022, following safety concerns with the structural integrity of the stack, returns ahead of its planned return date,” Ramokgopa said.

ALSO READ: Eskom shuts down Kusile unit after system failure

Other units

Ramokgopa added the third of three units is now expected to return to service in November 2023.

“This is earlier than scheduled, whilst unit 5 will come into commercial operation in December 2023. This signifies that Eskom is on the right path to reducing and ultimately end load shedding.”

In October, Ramokgopa struck an optimistic note about the country’s battle against load shedding, saying the restoration of more units at Kusile power station in the next few months could lead to additional energy capacity.

“We are now beginning to turn the corner in relation to additional capacity. I indicated at our last briefing that the Kusile units will be indispensable to resolving this problem. In the short term, it will help us reduce the intensity of load shedding.”

Kusile’s units 1, 2, and 3 were idled almost a year ago due to safety concerns and licensing restrictions.

Unit failures

In October 2022,  the Kusile West stack failed, causing three generating units (units 1,2 and 3) to be decommissioned.

Eskom explained the duct failure was similar to a chimney, providing a channel for exhausting gases from the power station.

It said exiting of the sulphur dioxide absorber failed on the horizontal rubber expansion joint as well as the compensator

A compensator directs flue gas up the chimney and allows for thermal expansion of the chimney.

This occurred while the unit was on forced shutdown for flue gas de-sulphuration (FDG) recirculating pump repairs.

Eskom’s short-term solution was to erect three temporary stacks that would not include FGD plants.

ALSO READ: ‘Intensity of load shedding coming down’ – Ramokgopa

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