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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

Eskom’s Kusile Unit 2 comes back online ahead of schedule

This bodes good news for the country as Eskom struggles with generation capacity ramping up load shedding to stage 6 last week.

Eskom’s Kusile power station’s Unit 2 was synchronised to the grid on Tuesday, two days ahead of schedule.

This is good news for the country as Eskom struggles with generation capacity, ramping up load shedding to stage 6 last week.

More power

Eskom spokesperson Daphne Mokwena said Kusile Unit 2 is set to add 800MW to the electricity grid.

“This marks another significant milestone in the Eskom Generation Operational Recovery plan which aims at increasing  the energy availability factor to 70% by March 2025. The unit will add 800 MW into the grid. 

“The additional three units provide  2 400 MW which translates to two and a half stages of load shedding. With the three units back in service, Kusile in total will be generating 3 200 MW.  Eskom would like to thank the Kusile team for their dedication and commitment in bringing back the much-needed megawatts to the South Africans, earlier than planned,” Mokwena said.

ALSO READ: Load shedding to yo-yo between stages 5 and 6 until weekend – Here’s your schedule

Kusile history

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.

The parastatal lost about 2 100MW of generation capacity, equivalent to about two stages of load shedding.

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.

Unit 3 came online at the end of September 2023, two months ahead of schedule while Unit 1 came online in October with each unit adding 800MW to the grid.

Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa previously said Unit will also return to service this year.

“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,” he said.

Nuclear power

Earlier this month, Eskom announced the successful synchronisation of Unit 1 at the Koeberg Power Station with the grid

This after the longest outage in Koeberg‘s history, during which three original steam generators were replaced with new ones as a key step to securing a nuclear plant.

“The conservative design of the station, the investment that Eskom has made in continuously improving the safety standards, the rigorous maintenance as well as the testing programme over its operating lifespan, give merit to Eskom’s decision to apply for the licence to operate the plant for an additional 20 years,” Eskom said.

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

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