Kusile’s unit 5 ‘works well’

Henry

Kusile’s unit 5 was connected to the power system for the first time ever on Sunday afternoon.

Dr. Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa has since said he is satisfied with the progress made with Eskom’s national generation capacity. The unit was connected to the system at 17:22 and adds 800 MW of capacity to the power system. This is the first time in two years that Eskom has added new capacity to the system, since Kusile’s unit 4 was connected to the system.

Kusile’s unit 5 will for the time being only provide power sporadically as part of a test phase that will take place over the next six months, before it is transferred to Eskom’s commercial fleet.

“The synchronization of unit 5 with the system represents another major milestone in the improvement of Eskom’s generation capacity. We are further encouraged by the addition of three generating units in September 2023, which together add more than 3,200 MW to the system. This will only further strengthen South Africa’s electricity capacity,” Bheki Nxumalo, Eskom’s group head of generation, said on Sunday.

According to Eskom, it is progressing with the completion of Kusile’s unit 6. With the completion of this unit, Kusile will finally be running at full steam, with six units generating a total of 4,800 MW of power. This will make Kusile the largest construction project in South Africa and the fourth largest coal-fired power plant in the world.

According to the power supplier, good progress is also being made to ensure Medupi’s unit 4 is back in operation in July this year, after it was removed for repair and renovation work.

Ramokgopa said in a statement that even more work will be done to add more capacity to the system and eventually end load shedding altogether.

South Africans have had no load shedding for the past two weeks and Eskom said last week that load shedding will remain suspended at least until New Year’s Day. It is still unclear what the outlook is for the rest of the week.