Kusile Unit 5 synchronised to the grid for the first time

Sunday, 31 December 2023: Eskom is delighted to announce that Unit 5 of the Kusile Power Station Project was synchronised to the national grid for the first time on 31 December 2023 at 17h22. The unit will contribute an additional 800MW to the country’s power system which was never part of the Eskom’s grid capacity. It will supply electricity intermittently during the testing and optimisation phase over the next six months before being transferred into commercial operation and the capacity officially added to the current Eskom fleet.

“As part of the Generation Recovery Plan, the synchronisation of Kusile Unit 5 marks another significant milestone of sustainably improving our generation performance. This will contribute the much-needed power to the grid,” remarked Bheki Nxumalo, Eskom’s Group Executive for Generation.

“We are encouraged that that this achievement of our recovery plan immediately follow the return of the three units that were brought online from end September 2023, bringing a total of 3 200MW into the grid, which will further improve the energy availability factor (EAF) and help strengthen South Africa’s electricity capacity,” added Nxumalo.

“I am grateful for the commitment displayed by the Kusile Project team. Their relentless efforts in ensuring that the project is completed is highly commendable. I have confidence that they will continue to work with determination to successfully deliver Unit 5 to commercial operation,” said Nxumalo.

“The greatly anticipated Kusile Unit 5 brings hope to the people of South Africa as it helps power the nation and its economy. There is enormous effort made to continue the remarkable progress on the new build programme and the Generation Recovery Plan,” said Calib Cassim, Eskom’s Acting Group Chief Executive.

Cassim added that, “We remain focused on improving the performance of the Generation fleet to reduce the impact of loadshedding felt countrywide, and to lessen the costs on supplementing capacity using the diesel-powered plant.”

Progress is being made on the remaining construction and commissioning activities at Unit 6 and at completion, the station will consist of six units which will produce a maximum 4 800MW. This will make Kusile South Africa’s largest construction project and will be the world’s fourth largest coal plant.

In addition, the power station is fitted with wet flue gas desulphurisation (WFGD) emissions abatement technology in line with current international practice to ensure compliance with air quality standards. This makes Kusile the first power station in South Africa and Africa to use WFGD technology, which is used to remove sulphur dioxide from the flue gas prior discharge to the atmosphere.

Also on a positive note, repair works to the permanent stack for units 1, 2 and 3 are progressing well. Intensified efforts are also being made to return Medupi Unit 4 to service by end July 2024. This, together with the successful completion of Kusile Unit 5 and the return of the three Kusile units will further improve the energy availability and give impetus to Eskom’s Generation Recovery Plan.


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