Eskom’s Medupi Unit 1 was synchronised to the grid on Tuesday evening, ahead of schedule.
Unit 1 is the last unit to be synchronised to the grid at the Lephalale-based plant.
“Eskom is pleased to announce that first power was produced out of Medupi’s Unit 1 on Tuesday at 17h36, attaining 190MW, making it the last of the six units of the Medupi Power Station to be synchronised to the national grid,” said the power utility.
Eskom’s chief operating Officer Jan Oberholzer said delivering Unit 1 ahead of time is an indication of Eskom’s commitment to deliver the project to the nation.
“This achievement signifies that Medupi is nearing completion and is on track to reach commercialisation end 2020,” said Oberholzer on Tuesday.
First synchronisation (or first power) is when the generator in the unit is, for the first time, electrically connected to the national power grid so that it is aligned with all other generators on the grid.
It will then start to generate and deliver electricity to the grid over several months. During this testing and optimisation phase, Unit 1 will be delivering power intermittently; and will ensure the country has stable electricity supply.
The first synchronisation of Unit 1 also marks a key milestone towards the full commercial operation of the unit ahead of its scheduled commercial operation in November 2020. The swiftness in delivering the Unit has been due to the fact that lessons learned on previous units were implemented on Unit 1.
The next step will be the testing and optimisation of the unit, which then results in it being able to generate full power of 800MW, while completing the construction and commissioning of dust handling plant.
All electricity that is generated is fed into the national grid for the country’s consumption. Once Unit 1 has attained full power, it will be a step closer to reach commercial operation, which occurs within six to nine months after first synchronisation.
“Eskom takes pride in Team Medupi and its contractors having achieved this milestone. The team is commended for the dedication and commitment for working tirelessly to ensure the synchronisation of Unit 1,” said the power utility.
Unit 2 was synchronised to the electricity grid eight months ahead of schedule on 7 October 2018.
Medupi is a greenfields coal-fired power plant comprising six units rated in total at 4 764MW installed capacity.