State-owned power utility Eskom reports that, on October 2, Unit 2 of its six-unit Kusile coal-fired power station in eMalahleni, Mpumalanga, achieved full commercial operation status.
This means the unit has progressed from its 16-month project testing phase, to officially becoming a part of Eskom’s generation fleet, contributing its nameplate capacity of up to 800 MW to the South African power grid.
Commercial operation status ensures technical compliance to statutory, safety and legal requirements. This significant and major milestone marks the contractual handover of the unit from the principal contractors under Eskom’s group capital build project unit to the Eskom generation division.
Eskom capital projects group executive Bheki Nxumalo says the commercial operation of Unit 2 is a major milestone that signifies the progress being made by Eskom towards the completion of the Kusile build project.
This project, he says, is South Africa’s “best hopes to bring stability and ensure security of electricity supply to power the South African economy.”
Unit 2 is the second unit at Kusile to enter commercial operation, with Unit 1 having attained commercial operation status in 2017.
Further, the construction, testing and enhancement activities on the remaining four units, some of which are currently providing intermittent power to support the grid, are progressing well, Eskom reports.
“Eskom is proud of its team at Kusile who have delivered this second unit with extreme dedication, and working under challenging conditions during periods of load-shedding and the Covid-19 restrictions,” the utility states, adding that the team has worked hard for long hours, together with execution partners, to ensure testing activities are done thoroughly and successfully.
Meanwhile, Eskom points out that the Kusile power station is the first power station in South Africa, and Africa, to use wet flue gas desulphurisation (WFGD) technology.
WFGD is the current state-of-the-art technology for removing oxides of sulphur, according to Eskom.
For example, power plants that burn coal or oil, emit sulphur dioxide in their exhaust flue gas. Eskom is fitting WFGD to the Kusile plant as an atmospheric emission-abatement technology, in line with current international practice, to ensure compliance with air quality standards.