Unit 1 of Eskom’s Kusile power station has been brought into full commercial operation, adding 800 MW of much-needed power to help stabilise the national power grid.
This means that construction and optimisation of the unit is complete and the operator, Eskom Generation, has taken over the plant and is running it on a regular basis.
The State power utility announced on Wednesday that the unit was completed well ahead of its scheduled commercial operation date of July 2018.
“This achievement shows that we have learnt lessons from the past and from other new-build projects, hence we managed to achieve this milestone ahead of revised schedule,” noted Eskom interim group CEO Johnny Dladla.
Dladla thanked the company’s employees, contractors and stakeholders for working together to ensure that the project remained on track.
“We value their commitment to the project whilst ensuring that we work safely to deliver on time and within budget,” he added.
Kusile power station is a greenfield coal-fired power plant located near the existing Kendal power station, near eMalahleni in Mpumalanga’s Nkangala district. The power station will comprise six units, each producing 800 MW for a total capacity of 4 800 MW. Upon completion in 2022, it will be the fourth-largest coal plant in the world.
Kusile is the first power plant in Africa to implement clean fuel technology such as flue-gas desulphurisation – a state-of-the-art technology used to remove oxides of sulphur, such as sulphur dioxide, from exhaust flue gases in power plants that burn coal or oil.
This technology is fitted as an atmospheric emission-abatement technology, in line with current international practice, to ensure compliance with air-quality standards, especially since the power station is located in a priority air shed area.
The station has a total planned operational life of 50 years.