Eskom reached a synchronisation milestone earlier this week when Unit 4 of the Kusile Power Station Project was connected to the national grid for the first time.
The ailing power utility said four generating units were brought online and will contribute an additional 800MW to South Africa’s power system once fully optimised.
Kusile Power Project milestone
Unit 4’s optimisation phase
First, however, engineers will carry out “a series of tests and other commissioning activities”. While this is taking place over the next six months, the unit will supply electricity intermittently.
Once the six-month testing and optimisation phase is complete, the unit will be handed over to the Generation division “to officially be part of the commercial fleet”.
Kusile is also the first power station in SA and Africa to use WFGD technology, a state-of-the-art process used to remove oxides of sulphur (S0x in the emissions of power.
Units 5 and 6 under construction
Meanwhile, construction and commissioning activities on the remaining Kusile Units 5 and 6 continue to progress according to plan.
Bheki Nxumalo, Group Executive for Group Capital, said the synchronisation milestone “is just what the country needs to power South Africa and its economy”.
“This achievement signifies the relentless efforts from the team in ensuring that the power station project is completed without any further delays, which would help strengthen South Africa’s electricity capacity”.
Once Units 4, 5 and 6 are connected to the grid and fully optimised, the Kusile power station will consist of six units in total, producing a maximum 4,800MW.
Fourth-largest coal plant once
Eskom said this would make Kusile – which is situated in Mpumalanga – South Africa’s “largest construction project and will be the world’s fourth-largest coal plant once completed”.
“At completion, the station will consist of six units, and will produce a maximum 4,800MW.”
Eskom is also fitting “wet flue gas desulphurisation (WFGD) to the Kusile plant as an atmospheric emission abatement technology, in line with current international practice”.
This is to ensure compliance with air quality standards, making it more environmentally friendly.