Eskom has added an extra 800MW to the nation’s capacity with the connection of the first unit of the Kusile power station to the national grid.
The extra capacity will help to support South Africa’s economic growth and the rollout of the electrification programme, the utility company said.
The Kusile Power Station Project is a green-fields coal-fired power plant which is located near the existing Kendal Power Station in the Nkangala District of Mpumalanga. It will comprise six units, each rated at an 800MW installed capacity for a total capacity of 4 800 MW. Construction activities commenced in 2008, and the power station is planned to be fully installed by 2022.
Eskom added that the connection of Unit 1 of Kusile comes at a time when it has incrementally been building excess capacity to ensure security of power supply.
“In addition to Unit 6 of the Medupi power station which been operating for over a year now, Eskom’s new build programme has also added 1 332 MW from all four units of the Ingula Pumped Storage Scheme, as well as the sychronisation of Medupi Unit 5,” the company added.
With the excess capacity Eskom said it is now enabled to increase its electrification target to over 200 000 households by end of March 2017, against the target of 169 722 that has been set for it by the Department of Energy.
At the same time, Eskom disclosed that it has also increased its electricity exports to neighbouring states, many of whom have had their hydro scheme adversely affected by the drought.
Electricity sales to Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe rose 31.6 per cent in the six months to 30 September 2016, according to Eskom.
Eskom’s Interim Group Chief Executive, Mr Matshela Koko, said: “Eskom has focussed on lessons learnt from its past history of new build projects and this has led to this early synchronisation. Our build programme is now delivering ahead of our re-baseline schedule, our operations have stabilised and as a result, we are in a position of surplus capacity. I therefore invite business to invest in the economy because the availability of electricity is no longer a constraint to the growth of the economy.”
Kusile is the first power plant in Africa to implement clean fuel technology such as flue-gas desulphurisation (FGD) – a state-of-the-art technology used to remove oxides of sulphur, such as sulphur dioxide, from exhaust flue gases in power plants that burn coal or oil.
This technology is fitted as an atmospheric emission abatement technology, in line with current international practice, to ensure compliance with air-quality standards, especially since the power station is located in a priority air shed area. The station has a total planned operational life of 50 years.
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