With South Africans growing concerned about the state of Eskom, the power utility has announced that Unit 1 of the Medupi power plant has produced power.

Late yesterday afternoon Unit 1 was fired up and generated 190MW of power. Unit 1’s synchronisation to the national grid means that all six units at Medupi are now generating electricity.

However, Unit 1 still has a ways to go before it is fully optimised.

“First synchronisation or first power is when the generator in the unit is, for the first time, electrically connected to the national power grid so that it is aligned with all the other generators on the grid. It will then start to generate and deliver electricity into the grid over several months,” Eskom explained in a media statement.

“During this testing and optimisation phase, Unit 1 will be delivering power intermittently; and will ensure the country has stable electricity supply.”

Once this testing and optimisation phase is complete Eskom says that Unit 1 will generate 800MW of electricity. The utility says that the aforementioned phase usually takes six to nine months following first synchronisation.

“Delivering Unit 1 ahead of time is an indication that Team Medupi and its contractors are committed to deluver the project to the nation,” Eskom’s chief operating officer, Jan Oberholzer, said to media.

“This achievement signifies that Medupi is nearing its completion and is on track to reach commercialisation end 2020,” the COO added.

While this is good news it does come to us on the heels of an Eskom executive claiming that any growth in the economy could increase electricity demand and result in loadshedding returning.

With Medupi slowly coming online perhaps South Africa can avoid the lights going out at regular intervals again. We really hope that’s the case.

[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]
Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.