Unit 2 of Kusile power station attains its commercial operation status

Eskom’s unit 2 at the Kusile power station in eMalahleni, Mpumalanga, has today been brought into full commercial operation status, to further stabilise the power system.

“This morning it was officially handed over to the generation business of Eskom from the Group Capital which was responsible for the building,” said the power utility on Thursday.

This means the unit officially moves to be part of Eskom’s generation fleet, contributing up to 800MW to the South African power grid, after undergoing testing and optimisation over the past 16 months.

“The commercial operation of unit 2 is a major milestone that signifies the progress being made by Eskom towards the completion of the Kusile Build Project, on which lie the nation’s best hopes to bring stability and ensure the security of electricity supply to power the South African economy,” said Eskom’s Group Executive for Capital Projects, Bheki Nxumalo.

Unit 2 is the second unit at Kusile to enter commercial operation, with unit 1 having attained the status in 2017.

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

Eskom said the commercial operation status ensures technical compliance to statutory, safety and legal requirements.

“This significant and major milestone marks the contractual handover of the unit from the principal contractors under the Group Capital Build project unit to the generation division.”

Eskom has also heaped praise on its team for their extreme dedication and working under challenging conditions during periods of load shedding and the COVID-19 restrictions.

The power utility said the team, together with execution partners, worked for long hours to ensure that testing activities are done thoroughly and successfully.

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), such as sulphur dioxide, from exhaust flue gases 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 practise, to ensure compliance with air quality standards,” the utility added.

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