Electricity minister announces three Kusile Units to come online after temporary repairs

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  • Speaking to reporters during a site visit to Kusile power station yesterday, South Africa’s Minister in the Presidency for Electricity, Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, announced that Kusile units 1, 2 and 3 would come online during October and November this year while Unit 4, which is undergoing planned maintenance, would come online next week.
  • Each unit has a 800MW of much needed capacity. 

The update comes after the failure of the Unit 1 flue gas duct on 22 October 2022. The failure at Unit 1 subsequently affected units 2 and 3 as the ducts for all these three units are in the same stack (chimney). Eskom opted for temporary repair in order to get energy production online as quickly as possible as the country faces a major supply shortage causing blackouts of 10 hours or more daily.

To allow it to utilise temporary repairs to Kusile power station in Mpumalanga, Eskom was granted permission to bypass the plant’s Flue Gas Desulphurization (FGD) equipment and emit unabated sulphur dioxide (SO2) and increased mercury emissions, potentially up until 31 March 2025. The decision has subsequently been appealed by environmental groups. Read more

Unit 1 flue gas duct coupler to the chimney stack at Kusile disconnected. Image credit: Karin Morrow – Twitter

Eskom claims that the temporary repair will allow it to add at least 2000MW to the grid to ease loadshedding, but its own records show that the plant was operating at less than 40% of that for the 15 months leading up to the failure of the West stack on October last year.

Related news: Nine arrested at Kusile power station for theft and fraud

The costs of the temporary repair have been reported to be in the order of R250 million and this figure will rise. The costs of the permanent repair to the failed stack are not being disclosed by Eskom, making a sound cost-benefit assessment by interested and affected parties impossible.

Kusile power plant has been riddled with problems starting from poor design, flawed operational capability, poor managment, over pricing, theft, sabotage and corruption. Read more

Author: Bryan Groenendaal


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