Eskom adds 800MW to the grid as Kusile finally nears completion

  • Eskom has announced that Kusile Unit 5 is now online, adding 800MW more power to the grid.
  • Meanwhile Kusile Unit 6 is still under construction, but should be brought online by November, the utility has said.
  • Eskom is planning to add 2 500MW of more power to the country’s grid by the end of the year.

After 96 consecutive days without scheduled loadshedding, especially in the height of winter, Eskom seems to be doing all the right things in recent months, a drastic change from the past after several years of what was often described as an unfixable mess.

The latest from the power utility has seen Unit 5 of the Kusile Power Station finally come online start generating electricity into the national grid, after first being connected to the grid in December 2023.

Unit 5 is capable of generating an electricity output of 800MW, Eskom says in its announcement that together with the other units of Kusile that are now online, the power plant can generate up to 4 000MW. There is now only one unit of the plant that needs to be brought online.

Kusile Unit 6, Eskom says, is still under construction, but it is expected to be connected to the grid in November this year. Upon completion, the utility claims Kusile will be the fourth-largest coal-powered plant in the world.

Construction began in 2008, so it would have taken the government 16 years to finish the station.

“Kusile Unit 5 marks a significant milestone in Eskom’s ongoing efforts to stabilise South Africa’s power system, adding a stable and much needed 800MW the grid,” enthused Bheki Nxumalo, Eskom Group Executive for Generation, and one of the few people being credited for the turn-around of the utility.

Eskom CEO Dan Marokane says that the current plan is to add 2 500MW more generation to the power grid before the end of the year, of which Kusile Unit 5 forms part.

“Eskom will continue to focus on implementing operation recovery, strengthening governance and future-proofing the organisation,” he added.

The utility claims that a heightened, more strategic maintenance schedule and using expensive diesel generators only when it absolutely has to top up the national grid has allowed it to ensure that loadshedding remain suspended during the coldest months of the year.


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