LEPHALALE — Unit 5 of the Medupi Power Station Project has officially attained commercial operation status. The unit was officially declared commercial after the completion of control performance and the 72-hour reliability tests, putting all performance guarantees to effect.
Phillip Dukashe, General Manager: Medupi, said at a special celebration ceremony held on site on Monday 3 April, that the commercialisation of Unit 5 is a culmination of a lot of hard work that has been done from the day the concept came for the design of Medupi. “From the design, construction, planning, commissioning, optimization and testing and finally this is where we are. We are in a position to hand over Unit 5” he said.
“It has taken years to get us here and we achieved many milestones. Unit 5 was synchronised to the grid for the first time in September 2016. It reached full load in December and today we can hand it over” he said.
Dukashe thanked everyone who contributed to the major milestone and a special word of thanks went to Johan Prinsloo, Power Station Manager and his Generation team.
“We could not have done this without Generation” he said.
“The road to where we are today was not an easy road. Sometimes it felt as if we were taking one step forward and five steps back, but the fact that we are here today is a testimony to the work and spirit that were demonstrated in resolving issues.
He emphasised that the commercialisation of Unit 5 came ahead of the scheduled time of March 2018. We are two units down, four to go, and we are confident that the success that we are celebrating here today will galvanise us to do even better on the remaining four units.
Johan Prinsloo described Medupi as a game changer.
“800 MW to the national grid allowed space for other power stations to breath. And they needed breathing space to get their maintenance going again. We are currently in the position where we do not know what to do with the extra energy. The game changed 180 degrees with Medupi coming online.”
Prinsloo said South Africa changed from not having enough electricity to having excess electricity.
“For those of you who follow the news, you should have heard that SA made agreements over the last two weeks with Zesa, the Zimbabwean utility and with Namibia. This country has a dedicated team working on creating more sales (8% more sales) in countries like Tanzania, Mozambique, Angola, and Zambia. A lot of effort is put into selling electricity” he said.
Prinsloo said that he feels comfortable about Unit 5 and if they can complete the next units in the same way, the power station is going to be something to be proud of.
It’s not about generation or group capital, it’s about Eskom, about the country, it’s about much bigger things than me and you. We come and go, but the Medupi legacy is here to stay” he concluded.