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The Kusile Power Station Project, situated near eMalahleni in Mpumalanga, South Africa, reached a new milestone on Sunday 14 April 2019 when Unit 3 was synchronised to the grid.

According to the national power utility, Eskom, the unit was loaded and kept stable at 60MW, making it the third of the six units at Kusile Power Station to be synchronised to the national grid.

The first synchronisation of Unit 3 marks a key milestone towards the full commercial operation of the unit.

“Unit 3 was synchronised more than 8 months ahead of the approved target date of December 2019,” Eskom’s chief operations officer Jan Oberholzer said.

“Once Unit 3 has attained full power, it will be a step closer to be commercially operational which is currently targeted at November 2019,” Oberholzer added.

The next step will be testing and optimisation of the unit over several months which means it will be providing intermittent power to the grid, and at times may even provide zero megawatts.

Once all the testing is done, the unit will be fully powered at 800MW and feed into the national grid for the country’s consumption.

Kusile using ‘state-of-the-art technology’

Oberholzer continued: “I would like to thank everyone involved in this mammoth project, particularly the Kusile leadership and staff for achieving this significant and highly commendable milestone for Eskom and for the country.

“Thank you too for your continued commitment and for going the many extra miles in striving to achieve Eskom’s objectives. We are proud of your collective achievements and we salute you all.”

The power company stated that the construction and commissioning activities on the remaining three Kusile units, namely Unit 4, 5 and 6, is progressing well.

Once completed, Kusile’s six units will produce a total of 4,800MW.

Kusile 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 used to remove oxides of sulphur, for example, sulphur dioxide (SO2), from the exhaust flue gas in power plants that burn coal or oil.

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.