Medupi power station’s Unit 4 synchronised to grid

Pretoria - Unit 4 of Eskom's Medupi power station was synchronised to the national power grid this week.

Unit 4 of the Medupi power station project in Lephalale, Limpopo, was synchronised to the national power grid on Wednesday, 31 May, becoming the third of the power station's six units to come on stream, Eskom said on Thursday.

The synchronisation of Unit 4 also marks a key milestone towards the full commercial operation of the unit ahead of its scheduled commercial operation in 2018.

Synchronisation is when the generator in the unit is connected into the power grid so that it is aligned with all other generators on the national grid. It will then start to generate and deliver electricity to the grid over several months.

Prish Govender, acting Group Executive for Group Capital at Eskom, said the unit's synchronisation is a great milestone, as well as a strong indication that the power utility is on the right path on delivering the entire new build programme ahead of schedule.

This achievement makes us all proud and we commend the team for their commitment in working tirelessly to ensure that Unit 4 synchronisation is achieved ahead of schedule, said Govender.

Once completed, Medupi will be the fourth largest coal-fired power plant, and the largest dry-cooled power station in the world. It will consist of six units with an installed capacity of 4 800 megawatts (MW).

The planned operational life of the power station is 50 years.

The Medupi power station uses direct dry-cooling systems due to the water scarcity in the Lephalale area. Dry-cooling systems use air instead of water to cool the steam exiting a turbine.

The power plant incorporates super critical technology, which is able to operate at higher temperatures than Eskom's earlier generation of boilers and turbines. The technology enables the power plant to operate with greater efficiency, resulting in better use of natural resources such as water and coal, and will have improved environmental performance.

Source: South African Government News Agency