- South Africa’s state owned power utility Eskom has confirmed that Unit 3 at Medupi Coal Power Station Project in Lephalale, Limpopo, has attained Commercial Operation status.
- Unit 3 reached full load on 16 May 2018 (796MW) and was first synchronised to the national grid on 08 April 2018.
- Unit 3 joins its sister units, Units 6, 5 and 4 which have been commercially contributing electricity to the national grid since 23 August 2015 (U6), 3 April 2017 (U5) and 28 November 2017 (U4).
- Fully operational, the plant is projected to emit 32 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalents a year.
“Commercial operation of Unit 3 is a major milestone that signifies that Medupi is nearing its completion; therefore it cannot be taken lightly. Eskom as the engine room of South Africa must ensure electricity supply for the economic growth of the country; and Unit 3 has contributed greatly to that cause”, said Jan Oberholzer, Chief Operating Officer of Eskom as he joined in signing the handover of Medupi Unit 3 to be part of the Eskom Generation fleet.
Commercial Operation status ensures technical compliance to statutory, safety and legal requirements. This signatory milestone marks the contractual handover of the Unit from the principal contractors to Eskom.
Unit 3 is distinctively different in that it is the first of the last three Units that is supported by the auxiliary plant systems from the northern side of the site as well as the new control and instrumentation system.
These as well as the new interfaces resulted in significant challenges different to those of the first three units. During the testing and optimisation phase, Unit 3 was delivering power intermittently; and contributing to the country’s electricity supply.
Unit 3 commercial operation achievement will surely alleviate the pressure on the electricity national grid.
Once complete, the project will have six 800 megawatt (MW) units which will provide a total installed capacity of 4,800 MW. Medupi is the biggest dry-cooled power station in the world. Fully operational, the plant is projected to emit 32 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalents a year. This is roughly the same amount of carbon emissions that 6,794,055 passenger cars will emit in one year.
Author: Bryan Groenendaal