Home South African Eskom to further stabilise grid with 800MW added with Kusile Unit 5

Eskom to further stabilise grid with 800MW added with Kusile Unit 5

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Eskom’s continuous period of stability and the three-month long suspension of rotational load shedding has been given yet another boost with the addition of 800MW to the grid as Kusile Unit 5 achieves commercial operation.

Located near eMalahleni in Mpumalanga, Kusile is South Africa’s largest construction project and will be the world’s fourth-largest coal plant upon completion. Picture: Supplied

ESKOM’S continuous period of stability and the three-month long suspension of rotational load shedding has been given yet another boost with the addition of 800MW to the grid as Kusile Unit 5 achieves commercial operation.

The power utility has announced the successful transfer of Unit 5 of the Kusile power station from the new build programme to operations in the Generation Division after six months of rigorous testing and optimisation.

First synchronised to the national grid on December 31, 2023, Eskom’s system operator, Isabel Fick, said this unit will now begin contributing power, increasing the Kusile power station’s total output to 4,000MW.

“Kusile Unit 5 makes an extremely valuable contribution to the national grid. Not only is it one of the largest baseload units contributing megawatts, but it also enhances the stability of the network through its nature,” Fick said.

Over the past six months, Kusile power station Unit 5 has undergone a series of tests while intermittently supplying electricity.

Since its synchronisation in December 2023, the unit has met performance expectations, supported the grid and helped to reduce load shedding.

Upon completion, Kusile power station will consist of six units, producing a maximum of 4 800MW.

Additionally, Kusile is equipped with wet flue gas desulphurisation (WFGD) technology, making it the first power station in South Africa and Africa to use this emissions abatement technology.

WFGD removes sulphur dioxide from flue gas before it is released into the atmosphere, ensuring compliance with international air quality standards.

This handover marked a significant milestone in Eskom’s ongoing efforts to stabilise South Africa’s power system, adding a stable and much-needed 800MW to the grid.

Eskom’s group executive for generation, Bheki Nxumalo, said this achievement aligned with the utility’s commitment to maximising grid capacity.

Nxumalo extended his gratitude to all Eskom employees and contractors for their diligent work in bringing this unit to commercial operation.

“The delivery of the unit, as part of our Generation Operational Recovery Plan, showcases the remarkable achievements possible when our 40,000 employees work together as a collective,” Nxumalo said.

Eskom has suspended load shedding for 95 consecutive days due to dedicated efforts in enhancing the reliability and performance of our coal generation fleet.

The utility has remained committed to effectively managing electricity demand during peak times.

The winter forecast published in April anticipated a likely scenario of unplanned outages at 15,500MW and load shedding limited to Stage 2 – this remains in force.

Eskom Group CEO Dan Marokane said they would continue to focus on implementing operational recovery, strengthening governance and future proofing the organisation to enable energy security, growth and long-term sustainability.

“We stated in our winter outlook, published on April 26, 2024, that we would add new generation capacity to the grid with Kusile power station Unit 5, as part of our intense focus on delivering the Generation Operational Recovery Plan, which was approved by the board and initiated in March 2023,” Marokane said.

“This addition is part of a total of 2,500MW that will be added before the end of this calendar year. Construction of the remaining Kusile Unit 6 is progressing as planned, with it expected to be synchronised to the grid in November 2024.”

Located near eMalahleni in Mpumalanga, Kusile is South Africa’s largest construction project and will be the world’s fourth-largest coal plant upon completion.

– BUSINESS REPORT

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