Eskom has announced that the Unit 4 of 794MW capacity at the 4.8GW coal-fired Medupi Power Station in South Africa, has entered into commercial operations and linked to the national grid.

The power station, which is being built by the South African electric utility in Lephalale, Limpopo province, will comprise six units that would have a capacity of 794MW each.

Three of the six units have entered into operations till date with Unit 4 joining Unit 6 and 5 which have been generating power to the grid since August 2015 and April 2017 respectively.

Unit 4 of the Medupi coal power station was declared commercial officially following the successful completion of control, performance and the 30-day reliability run.

It had reached its full power capacity on 19 June, twenty days after its synchronization in late May and subsequently entered commercial operations ahead of the scheduled target of July 2018.

Eskom interim group CEO Sean Maritz said: “Eskom New Build team is giving the country an assurance that we are indeed serious about delivering the New Build projects on time and within budget.

“Despite all the challenges we are faced with as an organisation and our perceived image in the public domain, this amazing results strengthen our determination to make sure that despite our challenges, we continue to deliver on our projects.”

Construction of the Medupi power station began in May 2007 and had been plagued by strikes, technical issues and cost overruns which had pushed the project completion date by seven years to 2019.

In July this year, Eskom secured a loan of $1.5bn from the China Development Bank for the project.

Eskom claims that the Medupi power station is set to be the fourth largest coal-fired plant in the southern hemisphere apart from becoming the biggest dry-cooled power station in the world.

The operational life of the coal power station is estimated to be 50 years.

Image: Medupi coal-fired power station in Lephalale. Photo: courtesy of Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd.