Kusile Power Station
Unit 2 at the Kusile Power Station has attained commercial operation status. Featured image: Wikipedia.

On Wednesday 31 March, 2020 Eskom announced that Unit 3 of the Kusile Power Station achieved commercial operation status.

As a result, three of the generation units have achieved commercial status at the project, generating a maximum 2,400MW to support the South African power grid. Bringing the 800MW unit to commercial status is part of a number of optimisation activities that are being done at the power station.

“Bringing this unit to commercial operation is a major milestone for Eskom and the employees involved in the project, who are working hard to ensure Eskom fulfils its promise of bringing stability to the power system,” said Bheki Nxumalo, Eskom’s Group Executive for Capital Projects. 

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This follows two years of rigorous testing and optimisation since Kusile unit 3 was first synchronised into the national grid in April 2019. This significant milestone marks the contractual handover of the unit from the principal contractors under the Group Capital Build project unit to the Generation division. Commercial operation status is conferred on generation units that have met the requirements for full technical, statutory, safety and legal compliance. 

The construction, testing and optimisation activities on the remaining three units, some of which are currently providing intermittent power to support the grid, are progressing well.

Eskom expressed pride in the team behind the delivery of Kusile unit 3, saying they had shown extreme dedication, working under challenging conditions during periods of loadshedding and COVID-19 restrictions.

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 (SOx), 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 and its commitments to some of the funders of the project.

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