By Annisa Essack
ESKOM announced on Thursday that unit 4 of the Kusile power station project was connected to the national grid for the first time last week. This brings the fourth of the six-generating units at the power station to be connected to the grid.
After tests and other activities, the unit will contribute an additional 800MW of electricity to the power system once fully optimised. The team will supply electricity intermittently during the testing and optimisation phase over the next six months.
Bheki Nxumalo, Executive for Eskom’s Group Capital division, said, “This milestone is just what the country needs to power South Africa and its economy. This achievement signifies the relentless efforts of the team in ensuring that the power station project is completed without any further delays, which would help strengthen South Africa’s electricity capacity.”
The controversial power plant was completed by 2014 after construction began in 2008 due to serious design flaws, which affected its enormous boilers. The construction has also been dogged by corruption allegations, with five people being charged with paying bribes in an ongoing case. Completion of the project is now said to be set for 2025.
The initial budget was approximately R81 billion, but this has ballooned to more than R161 billion.
ESKOM says that construction and commissioning activities on the Kusile Units 5 and 6 continue to progress according to plan. On completion, the station will produce a maximum of 4 800MW in electricity.