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Featured image: Medupi Power Station. Credit: Business Times

Eskom has announced that Medupi Unit 1 has produced its first power, attaining 190MW, making it the last of the six units at the power station to be synchronised to the national grid.

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The utility explained in a statement that first synchronisation, or first power, is when the generator in the unit is, for the first time, electrically connected to the national power grid so that it is aligned with all other generators on the grid.

It will then start to generate and deliver electricity into the grid over several months. During this testing and optimisation phase, Unit 1 will be delivering power intermittently; and will ensure the country has a stable electricity supply.

The first synchronisation of Unit 1 on Tuesday evening, marks a key milestone towards the full commercial operation of the unit ahead of its scheduled commercial operation in November 2020.

The swiftness in delivering the Unit has been due to the fact that lessons learned on previous units were implemented on Unit 1.

"Delivering Unit 1 ahead of time is an indication that Team Medupi and its contractors are committed to deliver the project to the nation. This achievement signifies that Medupi is nearing its completion and is on track to reach commercialisation end 2020," said Jan Oberholzer, Eskom’s Chief Operating Officer.

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The next step will be the testing and optimisation of the Unit, which then results in it being able to generate full power of 800MW of electricity whilst completing the construction and commissioning of dust handling plant.

Interestingly, all electricity that is generated is fed into the national grid for the country’s consumption.

Once Unit 1 has attained full power, it will be a step closer to reach commercial operational, which occurs within six to nine months after first synchronisation.